Exclusive 1news.az interview with the Director General of TREND news agency, Ilgar Huseynov
Question: You are the head of one of Azerbaijan's leading news agencies, and as someone informed in the most secret sides of Azerbaijani journalism, you can speak a lot about the processes taking place in the Azerbaijani media. What is, in your opinion, the situation in the Azerbaijani media? What are the facts and prospects for Azerbaijani journalism?
Answer: On behalf of TREND news agency I would like to thank you for your high appreciation of our activities. It is worth mentioning that TREND news agency is a commercial brand, a commercial company. The administrative independence of TREND NEWS, TREND CAPITAL, TREND LIFE and TREND FOTO agencies is being considered. These agencies have different journalists, different directions and creative tasks. Emotional support is very important to TREND employees, as the unique journalistic staff are the first in Azerbaijan to seriously undertake international news communication rivalry. Our plans are rather ambitious, and they require good professional grounding, and reformation of the conception journalism.
Taking this opportunity I would like to express my gratitude to IREX and personally Sheldon Markoff for his support. Due to IREX our correspondents are being trained by a skilled Western expert, Yevgeniya Munro and they have mastered international journalism standards, new forms and styles of news presentation. I am proud to work with such a skilled team and I am sure TREND will achieve serious international recognition in the near future.
As to the situation in Azerbaijani journalism, the hidden sides of the press resulted from drawbacks in 'visible sphere', i.e. journalists lack the desire to improve their skills or to learn languages. Azerbaijani international journalism faces staff shortages. I think more assistance should be rendered to enable the Azerbaijani media to participate in large foreign forums. That will improve the professionalism of Azerbaijani journalists and they will be recognized among their Western counterparts. I have spoken of this before and repeat this now that a new assessment system should be formed in Azerbaijani journalism.
Question: Azerbaijan is not a large country. Therefore, media activities are impeded by frequent collisions among rival news agencies. There is a news race and a wish to provide as mush news as possible in a short period. Is there sound rivalry in the Azerbaijani press and electronic media? What is its effect on quality of the news?
Answer: Indeed, rivalry is the most important element for development but also a serious irritant. Sound competition is the main thing, and what is important is who the competitors are. I will speak about local electronic media, in particular news agencies, because internet news agencies do not hold great responsibility.
Rivalry among news agencies is specified by their staff and their skills, a presence of special correspondents in Azerbaijani regions and other countries, number of subscribers in Azerbaijan and abroad and cooperation with foreign counterparts. And the essential factor is rapid presentation of news. You mentioned that quite rightly, unfortunately the quality of news is sometimes affected. The news race results in a negative image of newsmakers. Another serious problem is delivery of significant foreign political news with reference to unknown so-called diplomatic sources. I think it is categorically inadmissible to publish doubtful news for the sake of leadership speed. For instance, when TREND NEWS and TREND CAPITAL receive news they do not immediately publish it. Firstly the news is legalized. Unfortunately, sometimes efficiency is lost, but our image is of course much more important. I could mention a range of other negative milestones, but those will concern the level of journalism not the drawbacks.
I believe TREND undoubtedly leads in Azerbaijan and even in the region owing to its staff. We attentively follow the establishment of new ambitious news agencies in the country and take that into account.
Question: News-Azerbaijan, TREND, 1news.az and the New Development publishing house have recently established the National Expert Council (NEC). What will be the activities of the Council in the future?
Answer: A need for an organization to involve a new intellectual layer in social and political life occurred long ago. Against the background of development and further integration to the world community we should achieve social activity of up-to-date patriots, new prospective people with new ideas. NEC is a new platform for Governmental figures, MPs, political parties, NGOs, and professionals in different fields to discuss Azerbaijan's actual social problems and international issues.
I hope that the professional and intellectual potential of NEC members will harmonically help develop our country and maintain dynamic stability in society. We are sure that it is high time to re-fresh public opinion, to continue attracting people through progressive thought and scale of values common to all mankind.
Some of NEC's utmost targets include assisting in developing and realizing strategic conceptions of development of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani statehood and civil society, strengthening constitutional establishment and civil institutions. Undoubtedly another significant task of the NEC is to assist in bringing Azerbaijan closer to the international community through the implementation of joint projects with leading foreign news, analytic, scientific and social-political organizations. I am sure that the establishment of the National Expert Council and the level of its expert assessments will strengthen the format of Azerbaijani Statehood. The key task of the National Expert Council of Azerbaijan is to form an intellectual class in the country.