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Ara Saghatelyan: NA Deepens Cooperation with Civil Society, Creates Unprecedented Conditions with Mass Media
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The RA NA Chief of Staff-Secretary General Ara Saghatelyan made welcoming remarks on the theme The Media and Civil Society Engagement in Financial Management in the International Forum going on in Yerevan, which organized the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation) Armenia Office with the assistance of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.

Ara Saghatelyan has documented that as a result of the transition from the semi-presidential system to the parliamentary system in Armenia in parallel with the rise of the parliament’s role the problems connected with the decent and more active engagement of the representatives of the media and the civil society in the activities of the National Assembly are more than topical.

“As a result of the investment of the parliamentary government system, the role of the National Assembly has risen in the decision making process, as well as the responsibility loading has increased in the formation of the external and internal political agendas and encountering new challenges. Naturally, in this adaptation phase the efficiency of the parliamentary activities is directly conditioned by the effective cooperation with the representatives of the media and the civil society: from cooperation the expression of diametrically opposite viewpoints and substantiation in all situations, where the public interest is prior,” Ara Saghatelyan said.

According to the RA NA Secretary General, it is evident that the engagement of the civil society institutes in the works of the Armenian Parliament grows.

“The statistics witnesses to the rapprochement of cooperation, according to which, this year compared with the previous year the number of the public hearings has abruptly grown in Armenia’s Parliament, at the same time the active cooperation of the NGOs with the NA relevant Committees continues. They distinctly realize the importance of the institutional cooperation in the National Assembly, as the representatives of the civil society and the press both raise problems, the solution of which is necessary for the provision of the balance for regular activity of the state and the individual, the society and the state interests. The press and the civil society also implement one important function: they record what influence have the adopted laws on the public life and they provide feedback,” the NA Chief of Staff said.

Ara Saghatelyan has noted that in cooperation with the media the principle of the Staff is the following: “Don’t ask what the media has done for you, but ask what you have done for them.” “This year special environments have been formed in the territories adjacent to press boxes for the representatives of the media, besides, a press club has been created with modern technique and equipment, where the journalists can work, rest, hold debates and courses in non formal environment. In one word, conditions have been created, which have never been before. To provide technical conditions for the journalists’ work and upgrading of the NA press service sub-divisions on the territory of the parliament 8mln 500.000 drams was spent in 2017 at the expense of savings, and 12mln drams in 2018. This money was used for the implementation of the construction works of the press club designed for the journalists and technical upgrading. In the near future we envisage allocating also 19mln drams at expense of savings for obtaining new technique for the press service,” Saghatelyan said.

The NA Chief of Staff has reminded that one of the main principles of the public means management and the oversight of their expenditures is not only the good work of the structures implementing oversight, but also the decent public awareness about that good work, and the best mechanism of the public awareness and engagement in the processes is the transparency and active cooperation with the media and civil society.

“Recently in Ukraine I took part in the GIZ Conference on the challenges of the reforms in the Staffs of Parliaments of the Eastern Partnership Countries and the organization of the Analytical Centres’ works, where I met with my senior colleague, the leading Ukrainian expert on the communication theory. As he has noted, a lot has been changed in the social conscience and behaviour management sphere, but one thing remains unchanged: if you want to change the reality, first you should change the way of thinking of its participants. Such events, in my opinion, are directed to the modernization and updating of the way of thinking, obtaining of new knowledge, the realization of their importance, the exchange of experience and the practical use. I am sure that here the best exchange of experience will result in the activation of the parliaments’ activities with the media and the civil society,” Ara Saghatelyan said.

Summing up his word, the RA NA Secretary General thanked the organizers of the event for their efforts aimed at the development of the public financial management oversight in Armenia, wishing them effective work for the benefit of our countries' parliaments and societies.

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