On September 23-24 at “Yerevan” Hotel a seminar “Introduction of Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Armenian Media” was held. The event was organized by OSCE Office in Yerevan, Yerevan Press Club, Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia with the assistance of UNESCO Moscow Office. The opening remarks at the seminar were made by the Democratization Officer of OSCE Office in Yerevan Blanka Hancilova, the Chairman of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company Alexan Harutiunian.
In his report the YPC President Boris Navasardian noted the role and the significance of media accountability systems and the prospects of their development in Armenian media.
The seminar experts Ian Mayes (UK) and Jeffrey Dvorkin (USA) spoke about whether this accountability pays for media as business. Being in journalism for 50 years, Ian Mayes has been the Readers’ Editor (ombudsman) of the British Guardian daily since 1997 and is the current President of international Organization of News Ombudsmen. Apart from the daily publication of corrections and clarifications for the pieces in the Guardian, Ian Mayes has a weekly column, titled “Open Door”, dealing with the issues of journalistic ethics. Collections of these columns were translated into many languages, including Russian, and currently Yerevan Press Club prepares a similar collection to be published in Armenian. The past President of the ONO, currently the Executive Director of Committee of Concerned Journalists Jeffrey Dvorkin in 2000 became the first Ombudsman of the US National Public Radio. According to Jeffrey Dvorkin, while in this position (held until recently) he aspired to be the advocate for NPR’s 30 million listeners. As both experts unanimously noted, the higher the degree of professional norm observance in media, the more successful they are: not only the audience is expanded, resulting in increased advertising, but also the number of litigations reduces. Thus, the mediation of Ian Mayes between the readers and the newspaper resulted in 30% decrease of litigations against the Guardian.
The Chief Editor of “Aravot” Aram Abrahamian shared his experience of introducing certain self-regulation forms in the daily, also stressing the direct proportionate relation between the journalistic ethics and the success in media business. As it has been reported, a year ago “Aravot” adopted and published its Code of Professional Ethics (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 2-8, 2005) and to this day it is the only national medium in Armenia, having publicized its norms of professional conduct.
The Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia is currently engaged in the development of its own code of ethics. The Deputy Executive Director of Public Television of Armenia Gnel Nalbandian made a detailed presentation of the principles to be covered by the code.
The issues of political culture and professional ethics on the Armenian air were described by the Political Observer of “Kentron” TV Company Petros Ghazarian.