Go »

OSCE

1998



There are two views of the press in Armenia today. The first holds that the press is entirely free to report as it chooses. The second is that the press is irresponsible. One thing is certain: In the absence of censorship, Armenian officials resort to verbal pressure and sometimes physical retribution, to knock journalists into line.
The collapse of Soviet-style journalism has brought a new type of writer to the fore-youthful, enthusiastic, but often without training or experience. A problem in Armenian journalism is the need to replace Soviet-era training with new methods. Ruben A. Satyan says he assigns new recruits at Vremya to senior editors for on-the-job training. Astghik Gevorkian, chair of the refashioned Soviet-era Union of Journalists, says journalism departments in state educational institutions have been unable to adjust to new conditions because their professors are holdovers from the Communist era.
A 1993 censor's log book, revealing the interplay between censors and the cuts they made, has been circulating among Baku editors. Some extracts from the purloined document:
³24/VIII/93
³An article cut from Azadliq. It said that S. Husseinov demanded the resignation of President Aliyev at his press conference at Ganja. If you see such information in other newspapers, cut it out immediately.
At 25, Gunduz M. Tairli is a chain - smoking, ink - stained journalist. His face is angular; his expression intense. He is also chief editor of Azadliq, one of Baku's most popular newspapers, and the organ of the opposition Popular Front party. Putting out Azadliq is a daily struggle for Tairli, who labors 12 hours a day, six days a week for the equivalent of $50 a month.

Next Year: 2004 »