Misguided Pressure Tactic: Armenia's Ruling Party Collects Journalists' Personal Data
A few years ago, under the tenure of the current authorities, Hetq published an investigation into the real estate properties owned by the head of the Armenia's 7th Police Department (Internal Affairs) in Dubai.
A few days later, the head of the department expressed his desire to meet with me privately. I proposed that he meet with the author of the article. The author went to the meeting. The official explained how he acquired his Dubai homes. During the meeting, he told the journalist where his wife works (the information was incorrect), and that the son of the editor of Hetq got into a fight when he was a student.
In short, the official had collected all our personal data and wanted to imply that he could use it because he has connections in the media. The head of that department was removed later and now occupies another position.
The ruling Civil Contract (CC) party in the National Assembly collects data on journalists. As they say, among themselves, they gather dossiers.
Today, the authorities consider the media and journalists to be their number one enemy. It’s because they are not afraid of the opposition. They are only afraid of journalists.
Journalists inform the public about the "heroic" work of officials. The government blames the media for everything. Nikol Pashinyan voices this at every opportunity, and his teammates, following their leader, target journalists almost every day. The CC doesn’t want any publication about them, where team members are accused of corruption, illegalities, abuses. CC members haven’t understood that as officials they are targets. When you listen to their briefings and interviews, you understand that this catastrophic state of the state does not bother them at all.
CC MP Vahagn Aleksanyan made a "disclosure" today. During the briefing, he excitedly informed journalists that according to his information, Hetq’s deputy editor bought a house in Yerevan’s Byuregh district. Aleksanyan “forgot" to mention the size of the apartment, 52 square meters.
Let me inform Vahagn Aleksanyan that the editor of Hetq also bought an apartment in Yerevan’s Tzarav Aghbyur district years ago. Knowing this, you don’t have to overwork your sources. It's 56 square meters. Vahagn Aleksanyan believes that only officials can buy a house. Others shouldn’t.
What's the reason for this latest attack on journalists?
Defense Minister Suren Papikyan bought a house in Yerevan’s Yeraz district with income tax. It is reflected in his financial declaration. In 2022, he bought a second house with a mortgage in the Byuregh district. The apartment is 165 square meters. Hetq wrote about it. We wrote that it was purchased at a very low price. The CC now asks why we wrote about this, disturbing their tranquility?
Let me explain why we’re disturbing your tranquility. It’s because fifteen soldiers burned to death in a shelter in unknown circumstances. It’s because soldiers at many units lack night vision devices. (We can specify these locations if necessary.) We write all this because there is nothing left of the army. We write because instead of dealing with the country’s protections, you target journalists.
Ask about anything you want to know. We’ll answer.
I can provide other information about myself. I’m deep in debt to a hospital and to my friends. I intend to launch a social program with one of my friends for people from the surrendered territories of Artsakh now on the streets. If you need more details, you can contact me. I will answer your questions.