YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Members of the Armenian media staged a one-hour demonstration outside Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s palace in Yerevan Wednesday–in support of Bulgarian journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva.
A made-for-television documentary by Paskaleva on the conflict in Karabakh was banned from Armenian Television October 27–prompting huge opposition that culminated in Wednesday’s actions that involved more than 100 demonstrators–journalists and students.
Holding picket signs saying–among other things–"Mr. President–we want Tsvetana back on our black and white TVs," and "Tsvetana is not one of the President’s kind," the demonstrators chanted while walking in circles–getting more and more vocal as time passed.
The demonstrators also addressed a letter to Ter-Petrosyan–saying the reason for the protest was Armenian National television’s unwarranted decision to ban Paskaleva’s program.
According to the letter–polls showed high ratings for the documentary–and that it had become a viewer favorite. Many participants Wednesday voiced hope Paskaleva’s program would be restored on national television–and that Ter-Petrosyan would prevent further encroachmen’s on freedom of speech in Armenia.
Later in the day–Ter-Petrosyan spokesman Levon Zourabian addressed the protest–saying none of the clauses of the Armenian legislation had been violated–and that Ter-Petrosyan would not interfere in the matter.
Zourabian stressed that the administration of the National television station acted within its powers–and that since both Paskaleva and the Director of the National television station–Hamlet Gasparian–were friends–his personal opinion was subjective.