The “Transparency of Foreign Influence” bill, which has caused internal political tension in Georgia, will also knock on our door. It’s just that our government has already seen the reaction it caused in Georgia, so it won’t be in a hurry yet. But one day it will for sure because there are already signs that our government has lost its sense of reality.
First of all, let’s mention what are the pro-state aspects of the law. First of all, the state should always know what money enters the country and where it comes from. In other words, the state is protected from the purposes of these money by the transparency of their sources. But this makes sense in countries where all democratic, public, economic and social institutions are established. In short, this law makes sense in Norway, Denmark, France, Great Britain or America.
In Armenia, this law would make sense if poverty was really in a person’s head [it is a sentence that the Prime Minister of Armenia said accusing the people for poverty]. But we have a bigger problem. If your democracy is vulnerable, that is, your leader has tendencies to become an authoritarian or even a totalitarian tyrant, this law is a green light for him to become one.
Second, the “patrols” of your democracy, the non-governmental organizations, cannot find internal resources to carry out their work without other democratic institutions. I have no doubt that the Ministry of Interior will become a club in the hands of the government.
The negative side of this law is that you, the government, have not solved almost any socio-economic issues, and now you are trying to make those whom you do not respect manageable by law. In other words, you are not the one financing them. And which problems are the imperatives of their financing? – Permissiveness in the army and penitentiaries, Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, challenges to democracy, media independence
You, Armenia, do not have such an economic field where the media can be independent of any political influence. It’s just that your businessmen don’t have that much money, neither Gagik Tsarukyan, nor Samvel Aleksanyan, nor Khachatur Sukiasyan [Armenian oligarchs]. They, of course, have enough money to spit on Armenia and leave one day, but they don’t have a penny to keep Armenia as Armenia. In short, there is not at least half a businessman who can maintain a media outlet and pay a journalist a decent salary. There just isn’t.
And your advertising market in Armenia also does not guarantee any media to survive on mere advertising. Perhaps only then-opposition newspaper “Armenian Times” [which belongs to today’s Prime Minister] was like that, where the salaries were pitiful. But at that time, wages were pitiful everywhere and th “Armenian Times” did not want to be better than anyone else. It didn’t want to and that’s it.
Now, when the former leader of the “Armenian Times” brings the bill “On transparency of foreign influence” to Armenia, he will write a three-volume text at the beginning saying that this has nothing to do with the Russians. Even if we believe, the problem of this law is not only Russia. The problem of this law is also how much you, Pashinyan, should be confident in your non-totalitarian nature to want to control the democratic or non-democratic task of foreign money. What do you have today to prove your democratic nature? Especially regarding the media. Show us and then get to work.