On January 17-19 in Yerevan a training seminar on covering diversity for the
staff of “Armenpress” state news agency was held. The training was organized
by the London-based Media Diversity Institute under the project “Minority Empowerment
and Media Development in South Caucasus”, implemented with the financial assistance
of the European Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The MDI partner in Armenia is Yerevan Press Club.
Theoretical and practical aspects of covering minority and vulnerable groups
of the society were discussed in interactive communication, moderated by experts
Mike Jempson, PressWise Trust journalistic organization, and Arjum Wajid, BBC
World Service, from the United Kingdom and Tatul Hakobian, observer of “Azg”
daily, from Armenia.
The practical continuation of the training will be the 50 articles that the
journalists of “Armenpress” must produce in the course of 6 months and disseminate
among their subscribers.
At the seminar the monitoring of how the print media of Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Georgia cover various groups/minorities in the society was discussed. The
study was conducted in September 2004 by common methodology and within identical
time period in all the three countries of South Caucasus. The monitoring object
was five national newspapers in each of the countries. The head of the monitoring
in Armenia Elina Poghosbekian presented its findings to the seminar participants.
In particular, the extremely low attention of the print media studied in Armenia
and Azerbaijan towards the groups and minorities existing in the countries was
noted. Thus, of the total number of pieces studied only 1.7% of publications
in Armenian newspapers dealt with the monitoring subject. In Azerbaijani media
this figure did not exceed 1%. The highest level of coverage was recorded in
Georgian media – 7.5%. Out of the five target groups of the monitoring, during
the study period, the Armenian media most frequently addressed the problems
of the disabled, the Azerbaijani media – the problems of refugees/displaced
persons, the majority of mentionings in Georgia referred to ethnic minorities.
The third by the media attention distribution in all the three countries were
religious minorities, the fifth (the last) were the sexual minorities that were
recorded 4 times in studies of Armenian and Georgian media each, and not even
once – for the media of Azerbaijan. A similar monitoring will be conducted in
February this year, but this time among the broadcasters of the three countries.