The news program Haylur on “5th Channel” during the 18:30 broadcast on July 11, 2020, aired a reportage titled “Pashinyan’s government failed to work well – results of the opinion polls”, stating that according to opinion polls, the government failed to work well during the corona virus pandemic.
“If you also think that Nikol Pashinyan’s government did not work well during the corona virus pandemic and during this time did nothing to help people and business, then you are not alone, indeed you are not alone. 60 percent of those polled think so too,” said Lilit Muradyan, the author of the report.
She noted that the source of the information is a joint study carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Center, Transparency International and USAID.
Although, these structures have indeed conducted research together, almost all the information presented in the article has nothing to do with it, moreover, it is out of context, and extremely manipulative.
The Fact Investigation Platform presents the factual errors and manipulations in the report.
What study is this about?
Noting as the context of the research, the author of the reportage Lilit Muradyan mentions the situation created by the coronavirus. According to her, people are very dissatisfied with the steps taken by the government, a big wave of protests is growing, and expectations from the 2018 revolution have not been met.
“Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC), the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, and USAID in Yerevan conducted surveys in the regions from February to April, 2020, to learn about the situation in the country and the public sentiments,” is mentioned in the reportage.
At the same time, when submitting the poll in a visual version, a document appears on the screen where the title of the poll and the date of the publication is incorrect.
Fip.am contacted Sona Ayvazyan, director of the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, and Heghine Manasyan, head of the CRRC, who stated that the content of their research was “partially distorted” and manipulated during the reportage.
In fact, the data of the survey called ” Public opinion household survey on corruption in Armenia” was collected from October-November, 2019, while the results were were published in February. The aim of the research was to find out the perceptions of Armenians about the general situation in Armenia, corruption and its manifestations.
The word “corruption” is missing from the headline, and it is shown that the results of the polls were published on May 21 instead of February 21.
Given that the surveys were conducted in the last months of 2019, the citizens could not possibly express their views on the government’s policies during the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, the ‘5th Channel” misleads its viewers.
“Unemployment is the biggest concern for about 40 percent of respondents,” was mentioned in the reportage.
In fact, according to the survey, only 25.9% consider unemployment to be the most serious problem in Armenia.
“Eighty percent of the population who initially believed in the promise-threats of the authorities about eradicating corruption, slamming all the corrupt to the asphalt or smashing them into the walls, today think that corruption remains the most serious problem for Armenia,” mentions Lilit Muradyan in the reportage, noting that in 2019 only 40% of the respondents thought so.
In fact, only 65% of respondents consider corruption a serious problem in Armenia, with 36.5% considering it a very serious problem and 28.3% a rather serious one.
It should be noted that in the frames of the main study a survey was conducted on the prevalence of corruption under the previous and current governments. The 5th Channel did not show the results of this question, in which about 84% of the respondents mentioned that corruption was widespread in the previous government and it was present in all spheres, while only 4.4% think so in regards to the current government.
The author of the report claims that 45% of the respondents think that a wave of social discontent is growing in Armenia: “Even when there is a state of emergency on the street, the voice of the complainant is cut off on the way to the police station.”
It should be noted that in the study there was no question with such content.
Facts of unknown origin
Some evaluations that do not even exist in the study were presented in the reportage and attributed to the study.
“Does that mean that Armenia is moving in the wrong direction?” 52% of Yerevan residents answer yes and do not believe that there is anything good on that road. 57% of respondents do not believe in any improvement,” said Lilit Muradyan.
Within the study, however, no such questions were asked as there were no questions about the change of government, or the effectiveness of the protests, as presented in the reportage with concrete figures and date.
It is noteworthy that an article with the same content of the “5th Channel” report is posted on Panorama.am website, in which a link to the report is attached. According to the author, it was implemented by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC), the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, and USAID in Yerevan. These structures again note that the mentioned report is false, and they have not conducted such a research.
Thus, the reportage aired on the 5th Channel referring to the joint research of several international organizations contains gross errors. Moreover, it manipulates the content of the research and its context.