BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
YEREVAN—The 6th Pan-Armenian Media conference kicked off Thursday in Yereven, with the aim of discussing challenges facing the Armenian media ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Organized by Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry, some 150 representatives of print, broadcast and online media have converged on Armenia for a three day conference.
The conference opened on Thursday at the Yerevan State University Yeghgishe Charents Hall with welcoming remarks from Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakopyan and was followed by welcoming messages from President Serzh Sarkisian, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian, the Catholicos of All Armenians, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia and others.
The conference participant had an opportunity to attend a session of Armenia’s governmnet and visit the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument and Museum, befor leaving for Aghavnadzor to continue the three-day conference.
Various presentations ranging from the role of the press ahead of the Genocide Centennial, as well as assessment of the coverage of the Armenian Genocide in non-Armenian press in the West, the Middle East, Turkey and elsewhere, will serve as a basis for a final announcement to be adopted at the conclusion of the conference.
Asbarez Armenian Editor Apo Boghikian and I are representing the Western Region Armenian Revolutionary Federation press and will have our analysis at the conclusion of the meeting.
The one theme, which has been echoed from the beginning of the conference is the Armenian Genocide Cennetenial and common denominator to bring together all Armenians ahead of this milestone. The conference participants are echoing that sentiment, with the additional focus of the role of the media in not just gernering the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also to amplify our demands for reparations and justice as the main political reality of the Genocide.
However, there seems to be a push to discourage the Armenian media from identifying—and more importantly covering—other aspects of our Armenian reality, such the current socio-political state of Armenia and resulting socio-economic crisis facing Armenia. We are being told that by covering those “negative” aspects of the Armenian reality will provide ammunition to our neighbors—Turkey and Azerbaijan—to further their anti-Armenian agenda.
This, of course, is a somewhat of a pedestrian approach to coverage of issues and goes counter to the norms and ethics of journalism to not cover issues for fear of providing ammunition to your enemies, who, for all intents and purposes, are not waiting for coverage of non-Genocide issues in order to advance their denialist and anti-Armenian policies.
One simple solution to minimize and end negative coverage of the current socio-political situation in Armenia is that those responsible for causing those headline—namely the governmnet of Armenis—to end its pillage of the national wealth and enact reforms that would be beneficial not just for the citizens of Armenia but the entire Armenian nation.
The best approach to confronting the challenges ahead of the Genocide Centennial is to end the rhetoric and the unrealistic expectations to veil the reality and take measures to correct the wrongs that generate those “negative” stories. That is the true challenge.