Information Chief Resigns

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Garegin Chukazizian–the chief of the government’s Department of Information and Book Publishing–resigned Saturday following a one-day strike by most of Armenia’s print and wire media.

Chukazizian told RFE/RL Monday the strike–which took place Thursday–meant that the media have lost their confidence in him–but made it clear that it was organized by unspecified forces that sought his dismissal.

The allegations–supported by a handful of editors whose newspapers did not join the strike–have been rejected by the strikers who demand better work conditions and tax relief.

Chukazizian–who has held his post just for six months–stressed–however–that he does not intend to get involved in "scandalous activities."

Meanwhile–reliable sources told RFE/RL that a decision to sack Chukazizian was taken at a meeting of Armenia’s National Security Council Friday. The council is headed by President Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Observers also say that a tense relationship between the department and Armenpress state news agency might have been among the reasons for Chukazizian’s resignation.

Armenpress objected to the composition of the department’s ad hoc "dissolution commission" that is supposed to handle the agency’s transformation into a joint-stock company. The outgoing Armenpress director–Tigran Hakopian was taken to a hospital Monday with serious heart problems.

The information department also has been auditing Armenian state television. Chukazizian said the audit remains incomplete.

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