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January 23, 2013
Sport without Press: Armenian Sports Federations do not Evaluate the Role of Media
By Ani Mejlumyan
Sport without Press: Armenian Sports Federations do not Evaluate the Role of Media

The representatives of sports federations of Armenia very often blame the media for non-proper work. Media prefers to cover more popular kinds of sports with high ratings. There are 30 sports federations in Armenia and only one of them regularly uses/sends press releases.

There are also federations, which think that they should not have their contribution to the improvement of sports coverage in media and do not have a press officer.

One of them is the Weightlifting Federation of Armenia. Weightlifting is one of the most popular and popularized type of sports in Armenia. The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Armenia has increased funding by 40 percent but like past years it is not enough to have press officers. ''We haven't money but we don't think that media coverage is a big deal, we are popular and we don't need it," says general secretary of Weightlifting Federation of Armenia Pashik Alaverdyan.

Astghik Martirosyan, press officer of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, thinks that it is obligatory to be in direct relationship with the media. If the media is not informed about the current events then they can't cover them, "But Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Hrachia Rostomyan is very interested and concerned about this issue. And he has sent letters to all federations with a proposal to have press officers and to regulate their work with the media," says Martirosyan.

Gagik Sargsyan, General Secretary of the Armenian Ski Federation, voluntarily does the job of a press officer. "We have not such position because we have no money for that. Skiing is a very expensive type of sports and it's not popular in Armenia. We completely recognize that federations have to be the most interested side in this case," then he adds, "My only wish is to make the sport common in Armenia. It will be great if our kids could have skiing skills from a young age. It is a healthy and interesting sport and we have to show it."

In 2013 sports federations will receive 929mln AMD (US$2,2 mln) from the state budget. The most financed federations will be wrestling, boxing and weightlifting. Weightlifting will receive 165mln AMD (US$407,000). As an Olympic sport, weightlifting is funded also by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Armenia as well as by the National Olympic Committee of Armenia.

It seems that the Wrestling Federation works till 2pm. After that if one calls this federation, he/she gets an answer like, "Sorry, working day is over, there is no one from the administration."

Arayik Baghdatyan, the head coach of national team of freestyle wrestling, tells that the issue is complicated not just because of money, "I know that there is no need of much money, but the point is that no one recognizes the necessity of press officer in federations. However they want their events to be covered. Surely we should work with the media and inform them about the coming events. We have to meet all their requirements since we are the interested side. Media coverage is very encouraging."

Razmik Hovhannisyan, the editor of sport portal considers that media releases are rarity in our reality, ''Only the Football Federation uses media releases and very seldom the Judo Federation, the Chess Federation has a properly functioning website. In the case with others, I can say, one should be lucky to call and get normal information. For instance, the Shooting Federation sends media releases in Latin. There is no need even to talk about other things. Media releases are the first compulsory things in sports journalism," says Hovhannisyan. 


Ani Mejlumyan studies for master degree at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Managment of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs


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