The South Caucasus Media Conference on the “New Media: New Opportunities of Communication” organized by the “Journalists for the Future” NGO took place on May 19, at the Picasso Hall of the Congress Hotel, Yerevan.
Editors, journalists, bloggers, representatives of international and public sectors from Armenia and abroad participated in the conference and discussed the opportunities and risks of alternative media resources, as well as the international experience of online broadcasting and its prospects in the South Caucasus.
The conference was the concluding event of the 8-month project “New Media Workshops for Media Community”. The project goal was to promote journalistic use of new media. It was implemented with the financial support of the Social Transformation Program (Matra) of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
According to Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Pieter Jan Langenberg (second from right in photo) today the unlimited development of information resources is a great challenge for the media. In such a situation, the Ambassador says, it is necessary for the media to evaluate the quality of reporting and to provide much more accurate and professional information: this is the primary condition to sustain the great rivalry .
According to the Deputy Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan Carel Hofstra (from left), the media have a key role in the election threshold and during the ellections, "Providing different standpoints, it forms public opinion."
JFF president Suren Deheryan believes that the media faces rivalry, "Media outlets as well as individual journalists should have a good command of alternative media tools to find their place and role in the new environment of information flow. At the same time, information provided by a journalist should enjoy trust and be a beacon of objectivity within the crater of today's unclear sources and ambiguous purposes of spreading information ."
Speakers of the conference were: Grigory Shvedov, editor-in-chief of the Internet news agency “Caucasian Knot”, Robert Parsons, Director General of Kanal PIK TV (First Caucasus News Channel), Manana Aslamazyan, representative of Internews Network in Armenia and Onnik Krikorian, Caucasus editor for Global Voices Online.
55 journalists, 25 out of them from the regions of Armenia and 15 from Yerevan, as well as 15 journalism teachers from 8 state and non-state universities of Armenia participated in the workshops on the new media resources organized within the framework of the project.
International experts in the field of communication, journalism and online resources Dziugas Parsonis from Lithuania, Ivan Zassourski and Grigory Shvedov from Russia, and Ana Keshelashvili from Georgia were invited to conduct the workshops. The workshop participants had a theoretical as well as practical guidance through alternative media resources and the tools to use them in their professional activities.
While being in Yerevan the experts also delivered lectures for students of journalism departments in Armenian universities.
As a part of the training activities, an experimental online resource has been created on social networks, which was followed by launching a news resource for covering regional events (http://ditaket.blogspot.com/). For already a month articles from all the regions of Armenia are being posted on the blog by the regional journalists themselves. With the proper use of alternative media outlets, journalists will have the potential to fill the gaps that may exist in mainstream media reporting.
A new media course for universities was also developed under the project. This module was elaborated in close consultation with the international experts who delivered the training seminars. New media will be introduced in one of Armenia’s universities as a separate discipline soon and the module will be placed on the Internet for free use by other interested parties.