Samvel Martirosyan, Media Expert, Laura Baghdasaryan, Director of “Region” Research Center, Davit Alaverdyan, Chief Editor of “Mediamax” News Agency, were the speakers of the discussion.
Samvel Martirosyan highlighted the role of propaganda in all areas.
“Propaganda has a huge impact. It is no coincidence that some 60 years ago there were ministries of propaganda in different countries. Now the propaganda has a negative meaning. We can call it marketing, advertising, PR, and more. In general, mass media has a huge impact, and it can be seen from at least the spent finances. And this means that propaganda is a very effective tool,” Samvel Martirosyan said.
And propaganda in the context of civil movements is very important for Armenia
“We are a society where the civil society is not formed. In fact, since the early years of 2010, the civil society has begun to be formed as a way of self-governing and self-organization of citizens. And here media and social networks have a great role, they have become the source through which people find supporters and self-organize,” the media expert said.
Touching upon the positive and negative perceptions of the propaganda, Laura Baghdasaryan stressed that there is no need to give clear assessments.
“Propaganda is like a knife, you can kill someone, but you can do something useful, such as cutting bread. The same applies to social networking. There are two views on social networks in terms of disseminating and making the civil movements massive. First, social networks reduce offline activity of the masses because it is enough to sit in front of social networks and make notes and this leaves some feeling of self-satisfaction. The demand for the streets is decreasing. There is also the opposite opinion that without any social network, it would not be possible to provide up to 20 thousand people’s participation like in the case of "Electric Yerevan",” Laura Baghdasaryan said.
Davi Alaverdyan said, “There was nothing new in the propaganda after Gebels. The basic principles have been laid by Gebels, Information and Propaganda Minister of Reich, who has set some criteria for information warfare. Now the forms of rendering services have changed.”
Considering the issue in the context of “Electric Yerevan” civil movement, David Alaverdyan noticed that almost all civil movements of the recent period had been formed in social networks.
“A small group of supporters has been created, which has formed a movement in social networks and then moved to offline. After that, the online and offline went to the end hand to hand. In the case of "Electric Yerevan", the offline ended earlier than online. There was no movement, it was scattered but people continued to appear on social networks and it had some continuing character,” Alaverdyan said.
Touching upon the influence of external propaganda, Davit Alaverdyan especially emphasized the manipulation of the Russian media. “The Russian media are easily able to reverse some internal riot or demand as an external order.”
Referring to the impact of external propaganda on the Armenian society, Samvel Martirosyan noted, “Our society is very strange, it is divided by anti-Russian and anti-American, each of them unconditionally believes either in Russian or Western media. In this situation, when your society is under the influence of the outside, it is rather difficult to do something.”
Laura Baghdasaryan considered the use of propaganda during the civil movements as very natural, because on the one hand, it is used to empower the movement, on the other hand, to do the opposite. Again bringing the example of "Electric Yerevan" civic movement, Laura Baghdasaryan mentioned that during that period both Ukrainian and Georgian media were working actively, covering the events in anti-Russianism background and called it “Armenian Maydan”.
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