Sunday, 11 February 2007

Journalism matters - not just to journalists but to everyone

The year started up bad for journalists in Armenia - even worse than the previous year, here's a troubling list of some of the recent events:
  1. "...The three-and-a-half year jail sentence handed to the editor of “Zhamanak Yerevan” - Arman Babajanian..." RFE/RL.
  2. "...The Toyota Prado belonging to Suren Baghdasarian of the “Football Plus” weekly and parked in a garage outside his central Yerevan apartment was completely destroyed by fire..." RFE/RL.
  3. "...Arson attack on an expensive SUV belonging to Ara Saghatelian, the owner and editor of the “Im Iravunke” weekly..." (The photo and the quotes above all taken from the web site of RFE/RL).
Without going into much discussion as to who, why and how caused all these problems for the Armenian journalists (which was my initial intention when starting this post), I want to call on everyone in the Armenian public, to protect the journalists, even the very bad ones, and especially the good ones, as the authorities are clearly not doing their job of protecting journalists - those people so much necessary to scrutinize power in a democratic system. I could suggest, that on the contrary, the state is incouraging violence against the journalists if I only had facts, but as I don't - I'm not going to say that. I am only going to limit myself to appeal to the public and say: protect the journalists - from everyone, and especially from the state, for who will ask the questions when they're gone?

PS: I visited the newsroom of the Daily Telegraph yesterday and my reaction was WOW! No wonder these journalists are so dedicated to their work - they are a power in UK - real economic, political, social power... whearas fire and jail are the best reward for the best journalists in Armenia. Guess who will be more inclined to provide quality journalism to their readers?

1 comment:

  1. When in Armenia we say civil society, we mean a fashionable word to fundraise from international donors through family business NGOs. I am very upset for how our society reacts to many issues that directly concerns them. Though Armenian media and journalism shaped the stereotype of disable media for me, but still journalists are watchdogs of the democratic society. But however I have the suspicion that we are to blame for what we have. Like journalists are to blame for how they are treated. To illustrate with my though I will remember the case of the journalist young woman being beaten by police during protests after election ( not many journalists seemed to respond, and generally I think journalists are too attached to politics to be the soldiers for Armenian democracy. Comparing Armenian journalism to that of The Daily Telegraph, working conditions are not the first to be mentioned I think. They earned the working conditions with producing professional media. The Daily Telegraph is producing news firstly; secondly they carry responsibility for their production which is obliged also by the society. I may sound sarcastic to say that the competence of Armenian newspapers I would compare with that of 'The sun' and the 'Daily Mail' which is obviously a big concern for Armenian society and journalism. And to think who is to blame in this jam and why is very difficult. Is it corrupt government, freedom of speech, corrupt journalism, indifferent and inert society and audience, social economic conditions....? But that would make sense to think that maybe a professional self help of journalists would be a better start to be protected, or maybe they need to review their professional standards?