The Helicopter Shoot-Down Incident: Armenian and Azerbaijani Media Coverage
20.11.2014
12:00
The Azerbaijani media do not prepare the society for peace just the opposite. Moreover, there is no manifestation of pluralism in Azerbaijan. Such opinion was expressed by David Alaverdyan, editor in chief of Mediamax New Agency at the Media Center initiated panel discussion entitled “The Helicopter Shoot-Down Incident: Armenian and Azerbaijani Media Coverage.’’

Panelist Karen Vrtanesyan thinks that Azerbaijan considered the relatively neutral situation after the August incidents unacceptable and they sought a pretense to go for an escalation.

''In Azerbaijan there is a distinct propaganda of dehumanization of the Armenians which is considered one of the genocide technologies. In fact, dehumanization describes the denial of "humanness" to other people in order to absolve the criminals who committed crimes against the civilians,’’ said Vrtanesyan.

The Razminfo.am Coordinator added that denazification is required in Azerbaijan in order to neutralize the armenophobia that has been injected in people for 20 years. Some work should be done to rid people as well as with media and educational institutions of the remnants of armenophobia.

The panelists included: Davit Alaverdyan, Editor-in-Chief at Mediamax; Karen Vrtanesyan, Coordinator at Razminfo.am, propaganda analyst; Vahram Mirakyan, researcher at the YSU Strategic Research Center. At the discussion Shahin Rzaev, head of the Baku Office of IWPR, journalist, editor, shared his thoughts on the issue via video. 

“The Armenian media provided enough coverage of the incident with the downed helicopter though within a few hours following the incident lots of people disseminated fake photos and information but owing to our experts and the instant intervention the coverage came into balance. If compare with the events that took place in August, this time coverage became stable,’’ said David Alaverdyan.

According to Alaverdyan, the Armenian side ensures pluralism, for instance, there are some media writing that the Armenian side is guilty for the incident.

“First there was a kind of euphoria in the Azerbaijani media.  A video from a soldier’s phone was posted on YouTube, then opinions were different: some people said that showing faces and posts was a military secret disclosure, the others were proud of what had happened and said that the nation should know its heroes. As the Ministry of Defense has revealed the name of the soldier, media acted the same way but it lasted only several days,'' said Shahin Rzayev, representative of IWPR in Baku, a journalist via video call.

''Not all Azerbaijanis are as bloodthirsty as they are represented. We like the same music, eat the same dolma, support the same football teams. Don’t blindly believe this propaganda,'' added Rzayev.

David Alaverdyan mentioned that there are few journalists like Rzayev. Instead, the aggression is increasing, however the Armenian side should remember that war rhetoric can bring about military adventure but now we definitely don't need war.''

The speaker believes that journalists are to be trained for unbiased coverage of the situation which is tense seems to be getting even tenser.

“The Azerbaijani side also has doubts regarding the coverage which is changing day by day.  In a word, it was misinformation,” said Vahram Mirakyan

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