From newswriters to newsmakers: The journalists-turned-lawmakers of 7th parliament
YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. The 132 Members of Parliament of the 7th National Assembly of Armenia includes a rather high number of former journalists, who for various reasons decided to leave the news media and take up politics.
ARMENPRESS’s Norayr Shoghikyan sat down with several of the journalist-turned-MPs to find out what was behind their decision for running for parliament.
Zhoghovurd daily’s former editor Taguhi Tovmasyan, a lawmaker in the ruling My Step Alliance, has covered the parliament for nearly 15 years as a reporter. She says she knows everything about the activities of parliament. “The issues that I have covered as a reporter and editor, I will try to transform into speeches, legislative initiatives,” she said.
My Step’s Vahagn Hovakimyan, a former reporter with Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times), argues that a journalist covering political topics and politicians are closely related.
“A political journalist is indeed engaged in politics, but from the perspective of an inquirer, because someone’s political career might depend on this journalist’s article. The transition from a reporter to politician happens then the reporters decided to become a problem solver from a question asker, “ he said.
My Step’s Gayane Abrahamyan, another former journalist who quit months earlier, says she made the decision in order to give solutions to a number of problems that she herself has covered.
TV host Lusine Badalyan, now an MP with the ruling bloc, says the presence of former reporters in their team is an advantage. “If they were to be too many I wouldn’t find it an advantage but since they are within a dozen I think it is a necessity because all reporters know that no one knows the problems better than reporters,” she said.
Sargis Khandanyan, another former reporter with the ruling bloc, says the experience in journalist will rather help him in his activities. And he also says he won’t return to journalism.
Another former journalist, Babken Tunyan, an economist by profession, has for many years voered the economic problems and now as a lawmaker with the ruling force he says he is ready to hear healthy criticism.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan