OSCE promotes media self-regulation in Armenia

Armenia Materials 16 March 2007 11:37 (UTC +04:00)

( OSCE ) - Establishing a media self-regulation system in Armenia, as well as accountability and professional norms in the coverage of elections and inter-ethnic relations, were discussed at a seminar that ended in Yerevan.

The two-day event brought together more than 50 participants from the Armenian National Assembly, local media outlets, and international organizations, as well as media experts from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey.

"The ongoing democratic reforms in Armenia call for professional, independent and responsible media," said Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

"I hope this seminar will help promote better understanding by the Armenian media community of the process of establishing media accountability systems."

In a letter to the participants of the seminar, Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, said: "It is important for Armenia to launch a self-regulatory body. While promoting media professionalism and respect for ethics, the existence of a self-regulatory mechanism can minimize the chances of State intervention and help restore civil society's trust in the media."

Boris Navasardyan, the President of the Yerevan Press Club, said: "Since 2004, the Yerevan Press Club has been closely co-operating with the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Open Society Institute on ways of introducing an effective self-regulation system for Armenian media. Introducing norms of professional conduct, particularly in the coverage of elections and regional problems, is one of the most urgent issues."

The Yerevan Press Club has called on the media community to jointly develop a Code of Professional Ethics. So far, 19 media outlets and leading media NGOs have signed the proposed document. The initiative helped establish a Media Ethics Observatory which will survey the fulfilment of the Code of Professional Ethics and gradually become a prototype of a Press Council in the country.

Participants also noted that the seminar was particularly important in light of the May parliamentary elections.

The event was organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Yerevan Press Club and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation - Armenia.