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Armenian Opposition Newspaper Changes Name To Evade Ban

Copies of "Chorrord Ishkhanutiun"
Copies of "Chorrord Ishkhanutiun"
A leading Armenian opposition newspaper has altered its name to get around a court order suspending its publication, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The daily "Chorrord Ishkhanutyun" (Fourth Estate) changed its name on its November 10 edition to "Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun" (Fourth Self-Rule) to avoid a court order that it halt publication while awaiting a court decision in a financial dispute.

The Gind company, which had printed the newspaper, sued its parent company, Ogostos, earlier this year over alleged unpaid bills totaling some 5 million drams ($13,000).

A Yerevan court ordered Ogostos to stop publishing the paper until the court case ends. Officials from the Service of Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA) visited the newspaper's offices on November 9 and warned the paper to comply with the ban.

The next day the daily published some 5,200 copies under the new name at another printing house.

The paper is known for its staunch support for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its harsh attacks on the government.

Deputy Editor Armen Baghdasarian denounced the court injunctions enforced by SMEJA as "absolutely ludicrous" and said they are politically motivated.

He told RFE/RL that Armenian law "does not permit the suspension of newspapers."

Gind Executive Director Karen Avetian denies that there is government pressure or another political motive behind his company's decision to go to court.