Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Open Society Foundations Armenia statement

January 29, 2020

Publications | News

The Open Society Foundations were founded by George Soros, one of the world’s foremost philanthropists, who since 1984 has given away $14 billion of a personal fortune. The Foundations have supported individuals and organizations across the globe fighting for freedom of expression, transparency, accountable government, and for societies that promote justice and equality. The Open Society Foundations–Armenia opened its doors in 1997. Since then, the foundation has supported a broad range of civil society groups, including organizations undertaking work against torture and domestic violence, investigative journalism outlets, human rights defenders, and organizations monitoring elections and public spending and cultural educational and health institutions promoting and protecting right to education and health.

 

Armenia stands at a pivotal moment of transformation. Since the beginning of the Velvet revolution we have supported a peaceful process centered on love and reconciliation. Open Society Foundations-Armenia stands with civil society organizations and all Armenians working to advance sustainable, systemic, irreversible and democratic reforms for the benefit of all citizens.

 

A massive campaign to insight hate, mistrust, and even violence is unleashed against Open Society Foundations and its partners through undermining of our mission, vilification of George Soros, and falsifying facts related to our and our partners’ work.

 

We believe that it is the civil society’s capacity to support and demand systemic change that makes us and our partners the target of such smear campaign. It is the increased public trust in the society towards the democratic institutions, its first in decade legitimate parliament and government that is the target of such manipulations.

 

We have refrained from responding to such acts of defamation and lawlessness considering them provocations of revanchist forces aimed to put us on defensive for the lies and insults they generate. However, in the last month several mass media and journalists have engaged in disseminating defamatory and fake content in the form of re-broadcasting of “news” and hosting the interviews during which unrefuted and obvious lies are disseminated to broad audience.

 

The politics of fear and instigated mistrust are not specific to our country only. Unfortunately they have flooded discourses worldwide. In this situation, the mass media and journalism, whose mission is to unearth the truth and dispel lies in the name of public interest and informed citizenry is critical. And it is in this context that the media’s engagement in manipulations and dissemination of lies is inappropriate and dangerous.

 

We demand that the media refrain from disseminating the lies but instead engage in journalistic investigation and research and unearth the truth and informing the public thus build resilience against the disinformation and manipulation.

 

Some of the latest fabrications, picked up and disseminated by several media outlets, include but are not limited to the list attached to this statement.

 

Myths and Facts about the Open Society Foundations

 

Myth: George Soros made his fortune by instigating artificial crises, clashes and revolutions in various countries of the world and Open Society Foundations play a key role in it.

 

Fact: This statement is false. George Soros acquired his wealth in the financial markets of democratic countries, which are overseen by strict regulatory bodies.

 

Myth: The Foundation has funded a one-sided peace propaganda for Azerbaijan.

 

Fact: The Foundation has never funded initiatives related to Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

 

Myth: The Foundation has provided grants to Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Zaruhi Batoyan, Deputy Minister Gemafin Gasparyan, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arevik Anapiosyan, and other government officials.

 

Fact: OSF Armenia has provided grants to the organizations, where these individuals were employed before holding public office.

 

Myth: The Foundation is financing or in any way supporting the Sasna Tsrer party.

 

Fact: The Foundation has no connection with Sasna Tsrer party, has never funded and will never fund political parties.

 

Myth: The Foundation supports propaganda against the Armenian Apostolic Church.

 

Fact: This statement is false. The Foundation defends the right to freedom of conscience and religion of everyone. Since 2010, the Open Society Foundation has support the AAC, including a $ 50,000 grant to organize a summer camp for 130 socially disadvantaged children.

 

Myth: We funded or supported “My Body is My Own” brochure publication, “Mel” movie, “Huzanq u zang” performance, “The Voice of Violence” campaign, protests against the operation of Amulsar mining.

 

Facts: The Foundation protects and promotes open public discourse on the most critical topics and problems in the country, but has not funded above mentioned events or initiatives.

 

Myth: George Soros and Open Society Foundations advocate abortions.

 

Fact: The Foundation stands against sex-selective abortions. Meanwhile, we support the rights of women to access comprehensive health care services.

 

Myth: The Foundation encourages “the propaganda of transgender prostitutes”.

 

Fact: This is an absolute lie. The Foundation has never advanced such propaganda.

 

Myth: The Foundation is glorifying murderers.

 

Fact: The Foundation has never carried out such campaign. The

 

Foundation protects right of equal access to justice for all.

 

osf.am

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