he project, which is being implemented with the participation of the 7 departments of the ISHR, is very relevant to today’s Armenian reality. This topic is also very important for the Human Rights Department of ISHR because the members of the organization are mainly journalists by profession and have often made suggestions for reforming the media field as well as during public hearings in the framework of the Human Rights Coalition.
During the seminar on August 2, various experts presented the objective situation of the media field in present-day Armenia, which needed a better analysis of the real picture of the media field before the May 2018 revolution.
Human Rights NGO Chairwoman Bela Shikaryan, who is a journalist and expert on the topic, presented her research on the reform of the Armenian media field to the participants.
Over the past 10 years, Armenia has achieved some success in the field of freedom of speech, largely attributable to the independent online platform, including civil society. For the past 10 years, online media has been able to gain freedom of speech through consistent struggle. Many media means, investigative journalists, were able to identify corruption pyramids and other issues… But the former authorities had found a way to circumvent the revelations, which at best was to evade answers or ignore the facts.
However, the problem was different from the public and private media outlets. Prior to the revolution, the news departments of more than 17 television stations were largely coordinating their news coverage with the presidential residence. That is to say, the daily news material consisted of a pro-government scenario.
There was essentially no unwanted political content on television. In these circumstances, social media, especially FACEBOOK, became increasingly important, through which objective news sites were spread. The beginning and the course of the revolutionary movement in Armenia was also spread through social media.
The situation in today’s post-revolutionary Armenia is quite different. Today, the authorities do not exert any pressure on the media; there is no media outlet that can cite such a fact. However, the situation of journalists and often media leaders is quite problematic today. The private media, for the most part, are still owned by various oligarchs, who have been largely involved in the former ruling circles. Now, these media outlets are actively campaigning against the authorities.
Elen Manasyan, a lawyer and lawyer present at the meeting, presented the current corruption system in the media field, pointing out the real owners of news sites and agencies. One of the mass media outlets recently broadcasting false information in the Armenian reality is “Kocharyan News”, which refers to the media funded by the second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan, which is currently undergoing a series of crimes.
Thus, the former president, who owns enormous capital, finances a number of media outlets to spread anti-government, false propaganda.
Marine Kostandyan presented systematic information on Facebook sites and groups. She explained to the audience how to distinguish false material from real material. Questions were asked to all participants on what sites received information, discussions, comments.
Blogger Lilit Avdalyan presented the situation of journalists’ rights under the present circumstances.
Gennady Kaunov presented the role and opportunities of the media in Moldova. The audience once again was presented with the ideology of this program, the site, and its opportunities.
Summing up the results of the seminar, the experts noted that an unprecedented situation has emerged in the Armenian media field after about 25 years, when the media are literally free from any governmental restrictions, but there is, in fact, an economic problem which is often the cause of the non-objective role in the media field. But there are objective, impartial media outlets such as Radio Liberty; who took responsibility for all the pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary times and many journalists were directly heroic in that struggle.
“Mass Media, Formation of Manners, Rights in the Eastern Partnerships and Russia” program is a good opportunity to comment on the situation in the media, especially in the regions, and to organize public discussions.