YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AS SEEN BY ARMENIAN MEDIA

On August 31 – September 2 in Tsaghkadzor a seminar titled "Coverage of Activities of International Organizations and Foreign Missions by Armenian Media" was held. The Seminar was organized by Yerevan Press Club and UNDPI Office in Armenia at the assistance of Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The meeting participants who included the representatives of media, the international organizations working in Armenia and diplomatic missions, discussed, in particular, such issues as the experience and problems in interaction between the international organizations and Armenian media; covering the activities of diplomatic missions, donor organizations, UN agencies in Armenian media; the integration of Armenia into European structures and the role of media. The discussion was hottest on the subject of informing the public about the mission and the work of international organizations. The representatives of the latter ones complained about inadequate attention paid to them by journalists, frequent cases of distorted information and publication of non-verified data. The media representatives on their behalf remonstrated the insufficient transparency of foreign structures, while admitting the necessity for the journalists to specialize in distinct areas.

During the Seminar the results of a survey conducted by YPC to reveal the opinions of Armenian media representatives on the activities of international donor organizations were also presented. Journalists of 10 leading media were polled. According to the respondents, the most important directions for the international organizations to operate include investment projects aimed at rehabilitating the industrial potential of the country and supporting the farming in Armenia. Family planning projects aroused severe criticism, since, as the respondents think, their humanitarian content is improper for the demographic realities of the country.

As to the projects targeted at the development of media, according to some of the respondents, it is necessary to strengthen the donor support to the independent TV companies. The refusal of “Gind” private publishing house, established with the assistance of Eurasia Foundation, to print “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 12-18, 2001) was described as a negative example. The respondents placed great emphasis on the training programs, publication of professional literature, projects aimed at specialization of journalists, stimulation of independent journalistic investigations. Respondents mention that the journalists encounter no difficulties in getting information on the activities of foreign NGOs. However,  the interest of the audience and, therefore, of the media towards them is rather weak.