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‘Serzh Sargsyan’s Son-in-Law has the Monopoly in Advertising’: Law on Alcohol Advertising Discussed in Parliament

It's obvious that the draft Law on Advertising being discussed in parliament is antisocial and pursues the interest of a particular group, said Armenian National Congress MP Aram Manukyan in parliament today. 

Recall, the bill proposals permitting the advertising of alcoholic beverages (with an alcohol content of 20% or more) on broadcast media between 10 pm and 6 am.

Manukyan said that there is a monopoly in the advertising market, which is owned by Serzh Sargsyan's son-in-law, Mikael Minasyan. 

"Advertising is monopolized, and only one person decides who, where, how much. And if Aghvan Vardanyan [the MP who spoke before Manukyan] isn’t saying it, let me say it: it’s Mikael Minasyan’s monopoly. And this group [the authors of the bill], the main core of the MIAK [United Liberal National Party], solves this particular problem. There is no problem connected with advertising," said the opposition MP.

On the topic of supporting local producers, Manukyan raised the question of whether TV stations would advertise the Lusastgh brand of vodka. According to him, Lusastgh is sold for 500–600 AMD, and no vodka can cost so little, so it must be poison, and television is going to advertise this. 

"Those who cannot quality vodka and want to get drunk drink Lusastgh. You're doing something that's anti-state, can't you tell? It's obvious that this isn't a law. This is an antisocial, anti-healthcare law," said Manukyan. 

Countering Manukyan, one of the bill's co-authors, Samvel Farmanyan, insisted that there's no monopoly, while another bill co-author, Naira Karapetyan, said Armenia is the only country in the world where there have never been sobering-up stations, as "Armenians' mentality and national identity always prevents them from getting intoxicated." 

Karapetyan said that those behind the law are not defending the interests of TV companies but want to give Armenian viewers the opportunity to watch good programs, for example, international programs, which is currently not possible because TV companies are experiencing financial difficulties, but the new law will allow them to supplement their advertising budgets. 

Karapetyan said that from the beginning, the law had good intentions, since TV companies, by increasing their revenue, will have the opportunity to acquire, for example, educational programs. 

"I urge especially women and mother MPs to show sobriety in voting, to think about the education of future generations, and about the quality of television having the lion's share of educating future generations," said Karapetyan.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation MP Artsvik Minasyan, in turn, recalled that when years ago, the law on banning alcohol advertising was discussed, representatives of the Republican Party of Armenia with the same zealousness talked about the importance of the ban and protecting the health of the younger generation.