YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During this year’s election campaign in Armenia almost all candidates for Parliament paid large sums of money to newspapers and TV stations to have their election programs covered. And if "anybody failed to succeed–it means they did not spend enough money on his/her election campaign," Elina Poghosbekian from the Yerevan Press Club said at an international scientific conference entitled "Professional Ethics and the Journalist’s Responsibility" held June 7-20 in Batumi–Georgia.
According to Poghosbekian–the mass media this year was not as drawn into the election struggle as it was during the presidential election in 1998. Overall there was a relatively high level of election coverage–although the press had its favorites and was not impartial–she added.
Chairman of the Union of Journalists of Lithuania Vilyus Kavalyauskas pointed out that there are too many "incompetent journalists" in Lithuania. According to him a journalist in Lithuania writes what he is told to write until he gains some experience. The correspondent of the Russian "Izvestiya" newspaper–Andrey Kolesnikov reported that competition between privately-owned media in Russia exists only in Moscow. In other parts of the country–including St. Petersburg–the press is in the hands of local government bodies.
The Yerevan Press Club held a similar seminar–the fifth of its kind–under the two-year "Mass Media at the Transitional Stage" program. Unlike the four previous seminars attended only by representatives of the South Caucasus–this one was attended by representatives of the mass media of CIS countries and Baltic states as well.