JOURNALISTS OF ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN AND TURKEY ON QUEST FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
As it has already been reported, on June 20-26 in Baku, Istanbul and Ankara meetings of Azerbaijan, Armenian and Turkish journalists were held (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 16-22, 2001). The journalists discussed different aspects of the relations between their countries. This program that includes round table discussions, visits to the editorial offices of newspapers and broadcasters is implemented by Yerevan Press Club and “Yeni Nesil” Journalists Union of Azerbaijan with the support of Open Society Institute Network Media Program. From the Turkish party the project was joined by Turkish Democracy Foundation and Diplomatic Journalists Association. Six representatives of media and journalistic associations from each party participated in the meetings.
One of the main goals of the project is the discussion of the role of media in overcoming “the enemy image” and creation of favorable information climate to normalize the relations between the countries. During the round table discussions the speakers addressed such issues as “The Coverage of Historical and Modern Regional Problems in Media”, “From Conflict Mythologization to Objective Coverage of the Reality”, etc.
The third stage of the program will be realized in Yerevan in September, where, as participants have scheduled, specific ways of interaction among Azerbaijan, Armenian and Turkish journalists will be discussed.
THE SUIT AGAINST “ARARAT” NEWSPAPER RENEWED
On June 29, at the court of primary jurisdiction of Masis, Ararat region, the suit on the protection of dignity and honor brought up by Marineh Gabrielian against the regional newspaper “Ararat” was renewed (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 9-15, 2001).
In June last year, when Marineh Gabrielian was running for the position of the village leader, “Ararat” newspaper published a letter signed by 115 villagers. The letter contained information that compromised Ms. Gabrielian’s reputation. In a few months she appealed to the court so as to induce the edition to publish a refutation. Yet, neither in the suit itself, nor during the proceedings did the plaintiff point out which part of the information in the letter is invalid and must be refuted.
The suit procrastinated for several months. Ms. Gabrielian was either absent at the sessions, or challenged the judge. The plaintiff did not attend the court session on June 15 either, failing to give reasons for her absence.
Under these circumstances Judge Tatul Poghosian, based on Article 103 of the RA Civil Judicial Code decided to dismiss the suit. On her part Marineh Gabrielian resorted to the right to appeal to the court of primary jurisdiction to recommence the hearings.
However, the plaintiff did not appear at the session of June 29 either. Her representatives challenged the second judge, too. The proceedings were interrupted to discuss the issue with the Chairman of the court of primary jurisdiction of Ararat region.
Meanwhile, the journalistic community is concerned over two particulars: first, the extremely tolerant attitude of the court towards the whims of Ms. Gabrielian, who has been trying to settle her grudge against “Ararat” newspaper by means of courts, having no serious arguments in her favor, and, secondly, the negligence towards the fact that the terms and the procedure of the refutation as stipulated by the RA Law “On Press and Other Media Outlets” were initially violated. Meanwhile, the suit is expected to proceed…
“HAIKAKAN ZHAMANAK” IS PRESSURED?
The three incidents that took place during the past few days and are connected with the opposition Armenian daily “Haikakan Zhamanak” are viewed by Nikol Pashinian, the Chief Editor of the newspaper, to be premeditated and purposeful.
Last Sunday, on June 24, the iron bars at the entrance to the editorial office were broken and the office was burglarized. The offenders stole a digital camera, a recorder, a few dozens of CDs, other office supplies. In the early morning of June 25 an attempt was made at one of the founders of the daily, the leader of opposition party “Zhoghovrdavarakan Hayrenik” (“Democratic Motherland”) Petros Makeyan, who was not injured by pure chance. On Tuesday, June 26, the bus-atelier of free-lance journalist Vahagn Ghukasian, collaborating with “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily. In this atelier Mr. Ghukasian made and sold different leather goods, and this was his main source of revenue.
According to the Chief Editor of the daily Nikol Pashinian, the three incidents are interrelated and are directly or indirectly targeted against his edition. “At first I thought that the burglary at our office is a simple crime. But the other two incidents that followed convince me of somebody’s design behind it. Remarkably, the wards of the law arrived only an hour and a half after we informed the police of the robbery, and the investigators appeared even later. As to the journalist Vahagn Ghukasian, he has already received threats by the telephone after publishing a number of analytical articles on the case of the terrorist attack at the Armenian Parliament on October 27, 1999. Ghukasian was able to fix the number of the caller and notified the Police Department of Shahumian District, Yerevan. This, however, yielded no results. Remaining unpunished, the offenders attempted bolder steps”, Nikol Pashinian announced to Yerevan Press Club.
SOUTH CAUCASUS JOURNALISTS DISCUSSED INFORMATION ISSUES OF THE NATO’S PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE PROGRAMME
On June 26-27 in Tbilisi a seminar “The main information issues of the NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme” was held. The seminar had been organized by the Association of Euro-Atlantic Partnership of Georgia for journalists of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. During two days the NATO experts introduced the representatives of South Caucasus media to the history of the Alliance and its transformation, its relations with the partnering countries, transatlantic links and the development of European security, the role of the NATO in Balkan region, Partnership for Peace Programme and its main objectives, media coverage of the NATO’s peace operations. The seminar also gave floor to the discussion of the prospects for the creation of system of regional security in the South Caucasus. The meeting participants stressed the importance of greater awareness of the their communities about the role and the activities of the NATO in general and in the region.
THE FOOTBALL CUP “DIALOG OF CIVILIZATIONS” WON BY IRANIAN DIPLOMATS
On June 27 the international mini-football tournament for the Cup “Dialog of Civilizations” was finalized at Yerevan “Dynamo” sports hall. The tournament had been organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of Armenia with the assistance of the UN Armenia Office, Armenian Football Federation, the US and Iran Embassies in Armenia. The tournament gave the pitch to the teams of the diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia, the expatriates, currently residing in Armenia, journalists (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 2-8, 2001).
Unfortunately, the journalists’ team was not among the four leaders. The Cup “Dialog of Civilizations” was awarded to the team of Iran Embassy, who won the final game with “Expat” FC, scoring 5:1. On the same day, June 27, the match for the third place was held. The bronze winner was the team of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who took the victory over the Embassy of Germany, scoring 5:2.
The players who excelled at the tournament were awarded encouraging prizes. In particular, the President of the Foreign Correspondents Association Tigran Hovhannissian received a prize as the best captain, and a member of the journalists’ team, the playing trainer Ashot Yardumian – as the oldest player. The monetary prize of 150,000 drams (about $270) from Iran Embassy was awarded to the team of Foreign Affairs Ministry for fair play.
All funds raised during the sale of the tickets, as well as the prize of Armenian diplomats, were transferred to the five disabled children, present at the closing ceremony of the tournament.
HI FM 105.5 REBROADCASTING “EUROPE PLUS” WHILE RADIO HAY MAKES A TEST BROADCAST ON WWW
The first summer month was marked by certain changes on Armenian radio market. The first Armenian independent radio station Hi FM 105.5, which went on air in September 1994, stopped its programs and started rebroadcasting the Russian Radio “Europe Plus”. The other FM station, Radio HAY 104.1, directed towards the lovers of Armenian music, was the first Armenian broadcaster to work in on-line mode (www.radioHAY.com).
The owner of the two stations Anahit Tarkhanian explained the stoppage of Hi FM 105.5 broadcasts by financial problems. “Considering the serious competition, mainly coming from the Russian radio stations, rebroadcast in Armenia, the concept, the production of Hi FM 105.5 must be completely reconsidered, which will require significant investment. We decided to make a pause to reposition ourselves in the market”, Anahit Tarkhanian said.
So far, according to Tarkhanian, all the efforts and funds are concentrated on the new project – the on-line launch of Radio Hay, the test broadcasting of which have started since the beginning of June. The project was supported by Armenian Development Agency, which made an interest-free loan to the Radio so as to popularize the idea of Internet broadcasting in the country, conduct a marketing research, etc. Radio HAY is scheduled to start permanent on-line broadcasts by mid-July.