On May 28-29 in Tbilisi a meeting of media and NGO representatives from Azerbaijan and Mountainous Karabagh was held. The meeting was organized by the Association of Journalists-War Veterans of Azerbaijan with the assistance of Mountainous Karabagh Committee “Helsinki Initiative-92”, Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) of Georgia and funded by HCA of Azerbaijan and the UK Embassy in Armenia.
Similar meetings among journalists covering the Karabagh conflict have already become traditional: the first dialogue among the representatives of media and NGOs of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Mountainous Karabagh took place in 1994 after the ceasefire. In the opinion of a participant in Tbilisi meeting, a member of Stepanakert Press Club Karineh Ohanian, if previously such meetings were permanently dominated by politics, this time journalists discussed mainly professional issues: the situation of freedom of media in Azerbaijan and Karabagh, the relations of media and authorities, etc. “We did not fix our minds on the past, instead, we tried to have a joint look at the future, outline the ways for information cooperation”, stressed Karineh Ohanian. According to another participant of the meeting, a Karabagh journalist Vahram Aghajanian, the examples of such cooperation have existed for a long time and they leave no room for doubt as to the importance of “first-hand” information exchange. The President of the Association of Journalists-War Veterans of Azerbaijan Tahir Pasha-zadeh presented a few possible joint projects.
“Our expectations were mainly fulfilled”, Karineh Ohanian said. “Besides the prospective specific projects, it is nonetheless important that this meeting, for both Azerbaijan and Karabagh journalists, has become a new stimulus for continuing the dialogue, further cooperation, and overcoming the enemy image in the media.”