On November 22, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on his Facebook page that on November 23 he would answer questions from the media and non-governmental organizations live on Facebook.
This was Pashinyan’s first contact with the media after a long break. However, in the past, he regularly spoke about open and transparent governance, accountability to the public, considering them his and his political team’s most important principles.
In particular, during the press conference held on March 19, 2019, Pashinyan said: “…The most important goal of these press conferences is for me, the government, all of us, my family to be 100% transparent and accountable to our public.”
Prior to Nikol Pashinyan’s press conference, the Fact Investigation Platform decided to provide an overview of the dynamics of Prime Minister’s communication with the public through the media and social media during three and a half years of his tenure. The Prime Minister’s Facebook Live broadcasts, press conferences and briefings, interviews with international and local press since 2018 have been monitored and summarized.
Live broadcasts on Facebook
Since becoming Prime Minister in May 2018, Nikol Pashinyan has used live Facebook broadcasts as a tool for live communication with the public. During those live broadcasts, the Prime Minister addressed various issues of public concern, presented the government’s position, policy on various issues and areas.
In contrast to the first three years of his rule, in 2021 the activity of Pashinyan’s live Facebook broadcasts has sharply decreased (only two last year). We also watched the live Facebook broadcasts through which Pashinyan communicated with the public, for example, about his regional and foreign visits, rallies, marches, etc.
In contrast to previous years, the number of Pashinyan’s interviews with local or international media representatives has also sharply decreased. In the first year of his rule (in 2018), Pashinyan gave nine interviews, seventeen in 2019, thirty-four in 2020, and only five in 2021. It should also be noted that during the three and a half years of his tenure, Pashinyan gave interviews to the international media more than 50 times and only 13 times to the local press. It is noteworthy that Pashinyan gave six of those thirteen interviews to the Public TV, two to RFE/RL, one to the Public Radio, one to “Zinuzh” TV, one to “Shant” TV, one to “Civilnet”, and one to 1in.am. It is obvious that Pashinyan has never given interviews to any opposition media outlet during his tenure.
Presumably, this situation is partly due to the 44-day war in 2020, when the international press was very interested in the position of the Armenian leadership on the hostilities in Artsakh and regional processes. During the war alone, the Prime Minister gave 26 interviews to various international media outlets.
Press conferences and briefings
During his tenure, the Prime Minister held six major press conferences, both in Yerevan and in different cities of Armenia, such as Vanadzor and Kapan.
As of November 23, Pashinyan had not had press conferences or briefings in 2021. Meanwhile, for example, in 2020, the Prime Minister had 23 briefings, which mostly referred to the situation related to COVID-19. In 2019, Pashinyan had eight briefings, and ten briefings in 2018.
Thus, we can state that Nikol Pashinyan, who came to power with the promises of “transparent, accountable and open” government, sharply reduced his social network activity and contacts with the media after the war.