Letter from Keghart Publisher

15 November 2022

In our previous issue (Nov. 10), we published the “Դաշնակցական կոչ” letter which had been in circulation through individual emails and was brought to our attention. Regrettably, most of the comments sent to Keghart.org about the letter dealt with peripheral issues instead of confronting the important concerns raised in the document.

It is disingenuous, as one commentator characterized, to summarily dismiss a document because it’s not signed. Equally disingenuous is to lecture about journalistic integrity and that we are unaware of journalistic ethics. Rules are not holy writ: there are occasions when breaking the rules is the sound thing to do.

In an ideal world, where freedom of speech is respected by all, people would not conceal their names when expressing an opinion. Unfortunately, anyone who has followed Armenian political culture knows that ostracism, intimidation, threats, harsh retribution and ultimately violence are part of our history and continue to be so in the Diaspora and in Republic of Armenia. A former president set a despicable example of the abhorrent tradition.

It is unconscionable to willfully ignore the above reality and demand the names of the people who wrote the letter to render “credibility” to the document. How can one push under the rug what happened to the former director of Tufenkian Foundation Raffi Dudaklian, a respected intellectual who was assaulted in Beirut and had to be transported to a hospital after sustaining multiple injuries? Have these commentators also forgotten the shock that law-abiding people experienced when Hetq.am chief-editor Edik Baghdasaryan was brutally beaten by assailants in Yerevan? It’s crystal-clear that dissenters are not protected in our Armenian society. It’s unjust to demand that rank-and-file people reveal their names when intimidation and even terror are possible consequences.

In civilized jurisdictions there are rules and laws that protect the anonymity of vulnerable informers. Keghart.org, which operates under Keghart Media Corp registered in Ontario, Canada, respects and follows such guidelines.

Potentially consequential articles are published in Keghart.org following a meticulous review by the editorial team, the editor-in-chief and the publisher. The decision to publish this specific document went through rigorous debate by all.

Keghart.org is an independent media outlet. It reserves the right to publish whatever its team considers relevant to public interest and is in line with its mission. Internal party squabbles have no place in Keghart.org unless they deal with issues that transcend narrow politics and are of concern to the community.

We hope readers will review the document and the serious allegations levelled against the leadership of the party under discussion. In our assessment the allegations are in line with reality. While the party’s shortcomings have been known for a long time, airing them has been a taboo.

  1. Instead of acknowledging its blatant mistake and apologizing to the Keghart readers, Keghart has decided to double down and drag itself further into the mud by giving credence to people who are too afraid to stand behind their words.
    A further attempt to distract the attention of the readers is Keghart’s lame claim that critics were focusing on journalistic ethics rather than the content of the anonymous article. How can anyone take seriously the writing of someone who refuses to identify himself or himself? Secondly, there is nothing new in what he or she wrote. There are tons of such writings on Facebook on a daily basis, and yes, with the writers signing their own names and showing their faces. Anyone who does not know what’s really going on inside all of our organizations must be hiding under a rock.
    Furthermore, regarding your baseless claim that you are following journalistic guidelines, I don’t know if you read your own link, but I did. The link has nothing to do with the subject matter. The link talks about journalists quoting anonymous sources in their articles, not someone writing an entire article or letter to the editor anonymously! There is no such thing in journalism. Show me a single example of any self-respecting newspaper that has published an opinion column or a letter to the editor anonymously. There is no such thing. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you salvage your journalistic integrity. It is silly trying to teach a 40-year-long editor like me, journalistic principles. Of course, it is your publication. You can do as you please, but do not try to convince me that what you are doing is journalism. It is not.

  2. Why is Sassounian so enraged and uses uncalled for expressions “drag itself further into the mud”, “If you are too afraid to come forward, then just shut up”? Does his forty years of journalism give him the right to denigrate people?

  3. Considering Harut Sassounian’s unhinged attack on Keghart, me thinks the self-styled “professor of journalism” has a covert agenda at work here. That agenda has nothing to do with the journalistic ethics or standards he professes and has everything to do with his “deep” Tashnag affiliation. Sassounian is out to keep Tashnagtsoutune’s shortcomings under wraps rather than defend journalistic ethics. Over the years, he must have written thousands of articles. It would be interesting to see if he ever criticized Tashnagtsoutune or didn’t treat the party with kid gloves.

    To site just one inconsistency in his demand that people identify themselves: by now he must have noticed that in the comments section of Keghart, writers often use only their first names or perhaps even pseudonyms. Why hasn’t Sassounian criticized that practice? Those comments are letters just as the critique of Tashnagtsoutune is. He got on his hobby-horse because this time a letter criticized Tashnagtsoutune.
    It’s apparent that Sassounian has bestowed upon himself the mantle of the “Sun King” of Armenian journalism. It’s time the “professor” bundled his computer and went home.

    By the way, Tashnagtsoutune has done and continues to do a lot of good work. It’s the most effective diaspora organization. That doesn’t mean it is above criticism.

  4. Is there no place for whistleblowers in Armenian media circles? The voice of these brave individuals must be heard, and I thank the Keghart editorial team for providing them with the forum to do so.

  5. The “Letter from Keghart Publisher” is convincingly accurate and Sassounian’s attacks may be the result of him being sidelined by Pahinian and his followers.

  6. With all due respect to Sassounian and his forty years of service, he is neglecting to look at the totality of the item posted by Keghart. It clearly states in the introduction why the source is not named. The intro I believe should be treated as part and parcel of what’s posted and in substance conforms to accepted journalistic norms to protect the identity of informer(s)

  7. When Mr. Sassoonian lectures ad nauseam from his high horse on “journalistic ethics… journalistic guidelines… journalistic integrity….journalistic principles,” he betrays a gap in his knowledge of journalism’s history. When he insists that every article should carry a byline, he exposes his embarrassing ignorance. Bylines are a recent introduction. For more than a century after British journalism was born, there were no bylines. To “compensate” underpaid journalists, editors introduced bylines. It was a bribe: byline instead of a raise. Ego stroking instead of a decent salary. This might come as news to the newspaperman who lays it a bit thick re his forty years of journalism.

  8. For God’s sake please grow up guys and please be united for the sake of all Armenians . A true Armenian. United is the only way to success.

  9. It is sad that the people who wrote comments and the editorial board of Keghart.org have no knowledge of journalism or responsible editing.
    The board they say they don’t want to get involve in intra party issues, but the allow this letter to be published, hello demogagry .
    The people who wrote comments should differentiate between whistle blower or angry Revenge tirade’s.

  10. I don’t think that there is one single political party in the world that does not have internal disagreements or tensions. Not only the traditional Armenian parties, like Ramgavar or Hnchakian have disagreements or divisions, but the Armenian political parties in Armenia as well.
    When you are 135 years old Armenian political party like Tashnagtsoutyoun, with a long history of patriotism and struggle against the enemies of our nation, you are bound to make some mistakes, unlike those political parties who do nothing themselves but are good in criticizing others who work and accomplish.
    This type of anonymous letters only further divides the Armenian Diaspora instead of uniting us.

  11. Dear Papazian, I beg to hear united for what? United to keep silent about egregious acts committed by one and only one party? Name one incident of violence that Hunchags and Ramgavars have committed since independence. This is a cheap way to divert attention from a “patriotic” party of 135 years old Tashnagtsutyun which time and again has used violence against its own members too.

  12. Պարոն Փափազեան,
    Ոչ միայն կուսակցութիւններու, այլեւ որեւէ հաւաքականութեան, նոյնիսկ ընտանիքներու մէջ երբեմն տարակարծութիւններ կ՛ըլլան: Սակայն եթէ առկայ են սէրն ու յարգանքը իրարու նկատմամբ, անոնք բարւօք լուծում կը ստանան, առնուազն՝ բռնութեան չի դիմուիր: Ցաւօք, ՀՅԴ-ի պարագային այդպէս չէ: Յաճախ, այլախոհները պատժուած են ոչ թէ արտաքսումով կամ ուրիշ «կիրթ» ձեւերով, այլ սպանութեամբ, մահափորձով, ծեծով եւ այլն: Կ’ենթադրեմ դուք Գանատայէն էք եւ շատ լաւ պէտք է յիշէք որ երկար տարիներ ձեր մօտ ապրած, ՀՕՄ-ի դպրոցին տնօրէն եղած Ռաֆֆի Տուտագլեանը ինչպէս խոշտանգեցին Պուրճ Համմուտի մէջ՝ Բիւրոյի վարքին իր ՀՐԱՊԱՐԱԿԱՅԻՆ անհամաձայնութիւնը յայտնելուն համար: Դեռ չենք խօսիր սփիւռքի երկայքնին ու լայնքին ՀՅԴ-ականներու գործադրած ԲԱԶՄԱՏԱՍՆԵԱԿ սպանութեանց մասին (Դուրեան Սրբազանը Նիւ Եորքի մէջ, յառաջդիմականներ ու անկուսակցականներ Լիբանանի մէջ, յատկապէս 1958-ին, բազմաթիւ ահաբեկումներ Իրանի մէջ, ընդհուպ մինչեւ «Դրօ» կառոյցը ՀՀ-ի մէջ, երբեմնի Դաշնակցական Նայիրի Յունանեանի գործած նախճիրը ՀՀ-ի խորհրդարանին մէջ եւ այլն եւ այլն …): Հիմա կը հասկնա՞ք, թէ սրտցաւ Դաշնակցականներ ինչո՞ւ իրենց հրապարակային դժգոհութիւնները կը նախընտրեն անանուն կատարել:
    Որեւէ հիւանդութեան բուժման առաջին փուլը հիւանդին կողմէ իր հիւանդ ըլլալուն ԳԻՏԱԿՑՈՒՄՆ է: Այլապէս, հիւանդութեանց մեծագոյն մասը ոչ միայն ինքն իրեն չի վերանար, այլեւ անընդհատ կը բարդանայ՝ անձը հասցնելով մինչեւ մահուան: Նոյնն է պարագան նաեւ հասարակական հիւանդութեանց պարագային: Լաւ կ՛ըլլար, որ այս խրատը ՀՅԴ-ի ղեկավարութիւնը գիտակցէր: Այդ պարագային ԳԵՂԱՐԴ-ի մէջ թէ այլուր հրապարակային դժգոհութիւններ չէին հրապարակուեր:

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