“Nation-Army” propaganda: secret financing and violation of law

Within the framework of propaganda under the unwritten “Nation-Army” concept of the RA Ministry of Defense, billboards with the message “Called and conscripted for one purpose” have appeared in the streets of Yerevan. The study conducted by “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO has revealed that the sources of that propaganda are secret, and the installation of the billboards has been accompanied with illegalities.

Unknown source of funding

Based on the provisions of Article 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and the Law on Freedom of Information, the “Union of Informed Citizens” tried to find out from the Ministry of Defense and Yerevan Municipality who the billboard client was and who funded their installation.

As a result, it was revealed that the RA Ministry of Defense had turned to Yerevan Municipality to install the “Called and conscripted for one purpose” billboards on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the RA Armed Forces. According to the Ministry of Defense, the billboards were prepared and installed at the expense of non-state budgetary funds, with the help of individual donors’ funds.

However, it was not possible to reveal who were the people who spent millions of AMD on the billboards.

With violation of law

Yerevan Municipality also informed that they considered the “Called and conscripted for one purpose” advertisement as a social ad in December 2016.

In order to find out which department of the Yerevan Municipality was authorized to consider the ads as social, and when specifically they were regarded as social ads, the “Union of Informed Citizens” sent further inquiries to the Yerevan Municipality.

In response to the inquiries sent, Head of External Design and Advertising Department of Yerevan Municipality provided the requested information in part, failing to inform when exactly their department considered the ads as social, and whether he made a relevant written decision.

As a result, “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO registered two instances of violation of law:

FIRST, Article 51 of the RA Constitution and RA Law on Freedom of Information has been violated as the required information has not been provided in full. As a result, our right to freedom of information has been violated, and “Union of Informed Citizens has already filed a lawsuit in the Administrative Court to recover that right.

SECOND, Article 13 of the RA Law on Advertising and requirements of Government Decree N 1244-N adopted on 24.11.2016 and enacted on 15.12.2016 have been violated. The latter regulates the order of recognizing an advertisement as a social ad. In response to our previous inquiries, Yerevan Municipality had responded that no special committee was formed to consider the status of the aforementioned ads. The Ministry of Defense turned to them, and the External Design and Advertising Department of Yerevan Municipality regarded them as social ads in December 2016. However, Article 13 of the RA Law on Advertising stipulates that the ad can be regarded as social only by the Yerevan Municipality committee formed for that specific purpose. Thus, the department of the municipality or its head does not have such authority. This means that violations of Article 13 of the RA Law on Advertising and requirements of RA Government Decree N 1244-N have taken place.

“Union of Informed Citizens”

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