ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 March 14, 2003 



News Views: Journalists meet to review their work during elections



Navasardyan says training would probably help.Fresh from their duties covering a month of heated campaigning and voting, Yerevan journalists met last weekend in the resort town of Tzakhadzor for a seminar to discuss their coverage of the Presidential elections.

The seminar was sponsored by the Yerevan Press Club (YPC) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and centered around reports by the Caucasus Media Institute and Internews on how the media performed during the campaign and elections.

About 40 journalists, representing both pro-governmental and oppositional media debated and discussed their work.

"In my opinion the best thing about such meetings is the contacts between journalists. And my observation from that seminar was that the journalists in Armenia are more democratic than Armenian politicians," said Asparuch Panov, the Deputy Project Director of the Naumann Foundation for Bulgaria, Romania and the Southern Caucasus.

"And today I can say that there is nothing wrong with Armenian journalists. If I had not known where these journalists are from I would think they are from Baltic countries or Bulgaria, or Hungary."

Panov says the fact of journalists divided into "camps" is an economic problem.

"The Constitution in Armenia, at least those parts that deals with media, provides for freedom of speech and press," Panov said. "(But) there is no free media market in Armenia. The journalists, TV stations and newspapers are financially dependant."

A YPC report said that the broadcast media generally failed to provide balanced coverage of the campaign either in the first or second rounds.

And the print media, YPC found, could be divided into three major groups: those who supported Robert Kocharyan; those who supported Stepan Demirchyan; and those who favored neither, but generally opposed the incumbent.

Though the report was critical of his station's work, Kentron television reporter Petros Ghazaryan said the seminar was useful for providing a forum for journalists to get to know each other.

"I met many journalists who I probably would not meet in Yerevan," Ghazaryan said. "We got to know each other, to discuss several issues. Here, far from the political hustle, we had a chance for free communication."

But Ghazaryan had a poor evaluation of the state of his profession, saying journalism in Armenia "has a lack of professionalism".

Orran newspaper reporter Melanya Barseghyan had an equally dim view, saying that readers and viewers lost trust in media during the Presidential elections.

"Sometimes when people know that you are reporter, they became very aggressive," Barseghyan said. "They do not want even to listen to you, no matter which newspaper the reporter represents. I think we should do plenty to gain back people's trust."

Boris Navasardyan, president of YPC said that the Council of Europe office in Yerevan and the Armenian Ministry for Foreign Affairs were supposed to hold training for Armenian journalists before the elections, but the training did not take place.

"I don't know if as a result of that training the journalists would become more prepared for elections coverage," he said. "But probably the seminars and trainings would help journalists to better understand their mission."


  Inside
 

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News Views: Journalists meet to review their work during elections

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  Photo of the week
  Blooming Mad
Click on the photo above to enlarge
 
 
 
 

Blooming Mad

March 8 is always the Day of Women in Armenia. This year, however, it was the Day of Angry Women, as a few thousand took their bouquets into the streets to protest last week's Presidential runoff election.

 

 





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