On October 3 in Yerevan presentation of the brochure “Media Coverage of Regional Relations” took place. It was published under the project “Azerbaijan- Armenia-Turkey: Journalistic Initiative-2002", implemented by Yerevan Press Club, “Yeni Nesil” Journalist Union of Azerbaijan and Association of Diplomatic Correspondents of Turkey with the support of the Open Society Institute Network Media Program. The brochure includes the results of the six months’ monitoring on Armenian, Azerbaijani and Turkish media coverage of the relations between the three countries conducted in 2002.
Taking as a basis the results achieved, the researchers make a number of conclusions on general tendencies and differences in the coverage of this problem.
Thus, in the report on Armenia it is stated that Armenian media demonstrate a somewhat superficial approach to the coverage of the situation in the region, particularly to the relations with the two neighbors with whom the country has problems. Journalists mainly address traditional topics – the issue of 1915 and the Karabagh conflict where mostly abstract historical approach is predominant. According to researchers, the coverage of pressing problems in the relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey by the Armenian media is impeded by the lack of information sources as a result of which the majority of them practically fully rely on their own materials. The fact that Armenian media avoid consideration of the Mountainous Karabagh problem in an enlarged regional context is accounted for, according the researchers, by their orientation towards rather passive contacts on the state level. Active work of the non-governmental sector in the sphere of regional development does not enjoy sufficient media attention, which leads to a considerable reduction of the scope of thematic coverage.
According to monitoring data, the interest of Azerbaijani media in the subject of research may be qualified as high. Alongside this, the factor determining the context of materials on relations among the three countries is the issue of the Mountainous Karabagh, the aspects of which are equally discussed by Azerbaijani media – both the problem of conflict settlement itself and its impact on prospects of regional development. Karabagh problem is also one of the catalysts raising the issue of 1915 that by itself is not considered by Azerbaijani media as a factor impeding improvement and development of relations among the countries of the region. Just as in the case of Armenian media, monitoring has disclosed the weakness of information sources since in the overwhelming majority of cases journalists of Azerbaijan rely on their own potential.
In case of Turkish media, as the monitoring has demonstrated, the issue of the relations among the three countries is not a priority for them; the portion of materials on this topic does not come up to 0.5% in the print media and does not surpass 1% in electronic media. This small number of materials is also accompanied by the superficial approach towards its content: analytical direction is practically non-existent. The events of 1915 are considered by Turkish media primarily through the prism of current policy, and the majority of the materials on the Karabagh problem concern its settlement. Just as the media of the other two countries, Turkish media rely on their own sources of information.
The coverage of Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkey relations by the media of the three countries has become a subject for research in 2003. The work on summing up of final results of this monitoring is coming to an end and it will be presented to the public in the near future.