The Information Checking Center (infocheck.am) under the Public Relations and Information Center SNCO adjunct to the Prime Minister’s Office responded to FIP.am’s article “No historical minimum in 2019 army casualties: Nikol Pahinyan is wrong” published on January 11, in fact, misleading readers and journalists.
Thus, a January 11 article by the Fact Investigation Platform addressed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s assertion that “in 2019 the Armenian Army registered a historic minimum of casualties (for all reasons).” The Prime Minister made this statement in a Facebook post, not mentioning any statistics. After a short while, Gor Abrahamyan, Adviser to the Prosecutor General, made a post and reported that in 2019 there were 49 deaths in the Armed Forces of Armenia and Artsakh.
It should be noted that both the Prime Minister’s statement and the statistics provided by the Advisor to the Prosecutor General show the deaths in the Armenian (Armenia and Artsakh) Army, which include all the causes and circumstances.
FIP.am compared this data with previous years’ statistics and found that the Prime Minister’s claim that the historic minimum was recorded in 2019 is incorrect, as there were 31 casualties in 2013, and 45 in 2014.
In the publication titled “Statement of the Prime Minister on number of victims in the army is based on official sources, while data reported by FIP.am contradict each other”, infocheck.am website states that numbers from various sources for FIP.am material contradict each other (this assertion is also ambiguous).
The basis for our publication was the large bulletin issued by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor (HCAV) in 2018, based on official sources (MoD of Armenia, Defense Army of Artsakh, Military Prosecutor’s Office), mass media and, in some cases, relatives of deceased servicemen.
The article also referred to a study by Civilitas Foundation analyst Tatul Hakobyan, in which he presents data on casualties in the army provided by Armenian and Artsakh Ministries of Defense and other state agencies, as well as the HCAV, Peace Dialogue, Razminfo news site, and other organizations.
Although the headline of incfocheck.am’s article gives the impression that FIP.am’s material is inaccurate, the publication does not address or deny the fact that fewer victims were reported in 2013 and 2014, than in 2019. The Center does not provide data for 2013 and 2014.
It is unclear what the contradiction between sources of the data (especially as the Center cites 2010, 2015, 2017) has to do with the accuracy of Prime Minister’s assertion, especially considering the fact that the FIP.am article lists all the sources of data.
The “Information Checking Platform” states that the data provided by HCAV and Tatul Hakobyan differ from each other, while Hakobyan’s publication presents data of both HCAV and other organizations possessing similar statistics. And in no way do the differences in the data provided by these organizations affect the main content of the material (the difference, as Infocheck points out, may be related to the methodology of calculations or perhaps years-long rumors that the RA MoD and the Defense Army of Artsakh are concealing data on casualties).
In fact, the “Information Checking Center” misleads the public, especially considering the circumstance that the center does not report on the number of deaths recorded in 2013, 2014 and 2019 by the Ministry of Defense (the data of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Defense did not coincide only in 2016 due to the April war). By the way, the Center notes that Pashinyan’s statement was based on official statistics provided by the Ministry of Defense. However, the attached link again takes us to the above note by Gor Abrahamyan, Adviser to the Prosecutor General.
To verify the data once again, the Fact Investigation Platform contacted Ministry of Defense Spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan, who noted that an inquiry has to be sent to them to receive the statistics. Hovhannisyan informed that the Ministry of Defense has sent the data to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office.
FIP.am has sent an inquiry to the MoD to receive the data once again.
Thus, the Fact Investigation Platform requests the Public Relations and Information Center SNCO adjunct to the Prime Minister’s Office, and operating at the expense of public funds, to reconsider its approaches, not mislead the public and not discredit credible media outlets.