YPC Weekly Newsletter

2004


JOURNALISTIC COMMUNITY OF ARMENIA SUPPORTS THE IDEA OF ESTABLISHING OF MEDIA SELF-REGULATION

On December 20 in Yerevan seminar “Prospects of Introducing Media Self-Regulation
System in Armenia” and the presentation of a homonymous sociological research
were held. The event, organized by Yerevan Press Club and the OSCE Office in
Yerevan, brought together representatives of media, journalistic associations
of Armenia, international organizations accredited in Armenia. At the opening
of the seminar the President of Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardian and Head
of OSCE Office in Yerevan Vladimir Pryakhin spoke. The findings of the sociological
research “Prospects for Introducing Media Self-Regulation System in Armenia”
were presented by sociologist Nelson Shakhnazarian.

The research was administered on November 15-30, 2004, by Yerevan Press Club
with the support of OSCE Office in Yerevan. The methodology of the research
included an interview (on the basis of a specially designed questionnaire) with
the representatives of national, regional print and broadcast media, the national
news agencies, the foreign media in Armenia, journalistic associations. 109
respondents were surveyed, of them 78 are the heads/deputy heads of media, 31
are well-known journalists, representatives of journalistic associations.

In the opinion of the majority of respondents, when preparing their pieces
Armenian journalists mostly implement the policy of the editor/party/media owner
and only after that take into account the interests and the tastes of the public.
The third and the fourth ratings on the priority scale were such values as free
expression of ideas, opinions and focus on international professional standards.

Eight norms of professional ethics, listed in the questionnaire, in terms of
their importance for the activities of the journalist were assessed highly by
the respondents. The first priority group comprised “validity of information”
and “objectivity, impartiality”. The second group focuses on the “exclusion
of plagiarism” and “refusal from bribes and extortions”, the third – “separation
of facts and opinions” and “separation of information and advertising”.
The fourth were “solidarity with other journalists” and “avoidance of the conflict
of interests”. In general, in the opinion of respondents, these norms of professional
ethics in the modern Armenian journalism are observed by 30.4% or less than
one third.

The majority of the respondents (59.6%) think that under the conditions of
Armenia today the truly independent and objective journalism is possible. However,
it should be noted that the opinions of the media first persons and other representatives
of the journalistic community were radically opposite. Only 25.8% of journalists
gave an affirmative answer to this question (“quite possible” and “possible”),
whereas among the media heads these were 77.1%. The negative responses, including
those who found it difficult to answer, were 74.2% of journalists and 26.9%
of media heads.

The absolute majority of respondents think that the journalistic community
itself is capable of ensuring a higher lever of professional ethics: 31.2% answered
this question with “possible” and 59.6% – “possible under certain conditions”.

Again the vast majority of respondents (82.5%) support the idea of creating
a media self-regulation system. It is more effective, in the opinion of respondents,
to form a Press Council in Armenia. The second place in the hierarchy of the
preferences for self-regulation is the Center of Media Activity Analysis, the
third place is taken by regular conferences on issues of ethics, the fourth
– the codes of individual media and on the fifth – press ombudsmen. Among the
main functions that can be placed on a similar institute in case of its creation
were named “the protection of the society from unconscientious information”
and “the protection of media freedom”. Such problems as “the solution of problems
of professional ethics, journalistic solidarity” and “the settlement of conflicts
between various media” were rated the third and the fourth. The self-regulation
system is to be initiated, in the opinion of the respondents, primarily by journalistic
associations and media first persons.

The findings of “Prospects of Introducing Media Self-Regulation System in Armenia”
research can be fully viewed in Armenian, English and Russian languages on the
YPC web-site: www.ypc.am in “Studies” section.