Armenia Considers Banning Russian TV

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.08 - 2024 2:33 PM CET

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Photo: Vladimir Tretyakov / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Vladimir Tretyakov / Shutterstock.com
Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan threatens to ban Russian TV unless it shifts to fair and respectful coverage of Armenian affairs.

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Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has issued a stark warning: Russian television broadcasts could face a ban within the country if their coverage does not adopt a more respectful and balanced approach towards Armenia.

During a press conference covered by Interfax, Pashinyan expressed his expectations clearly,

“We expect the broadcasts of Russian TV channels to respect the citizens and the state system of Armenia,” emphasizing the need for a "respectful attitude toward Armenia and its interests."

Strained Relations and Media Onslaught

Relations between Russia and Armenia have been tense, especially following Moscow's inability to prevent Azerbaijan's takeover of the Nagorno-Karabakh region last fall—a region under Russian peacekeeping watch since the 2020 conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

This lapse has led to an increase in critical coverage by Russian state media targeting Armenian leadership and policies.

Reports indicate that the Kremlin may have even directed its media and officials to pin the blame for Azerbaijan's aggressive actions in September 2023 on Armenia, further complicating the narrative.

A Pattern of Suspensions

The Armenian government has already taken measures against specific Russian media outlets in recent months.

Notably, it suspended the local operations of Sputnik, a Kremlin-funded broadcaster, in December following derogatory comments about Armenia by Tigran Keosayan, a notable pro-Kremlin figure and husband to RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

Additionally, shows hosted by pro-Kremlin TV personality Vladimir Solovyov were blocked in March due to repeated infractions, as stated by Armenian authorities.

This pattern of suspensions underscores the growing frustrations with how Russian media portrays Armenia.

Pashinyan's recent statements suggest a final threshold for tolerance is nearing.

“We’ve already asked and demanded seven and more times, and we will demand two more times. If not, then let’s put on record what our next step will be,” he declared, hinting at a potential total ban on Russian TV channels in Armenia if their approach remains unchanged.

The backdrop to these media tensions is Russia's reduced influence in the region since its military focus shifted to the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, altering dynamics and expectations within its previous spheres of influence.

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