The “Alternative Resources in Media” (ARM) program aimed at enhancing and improving access to pluralistic and unbiased information in Armenia via traditional and alternative media through the use of new information technologies.
ARM had three main components: production and distribution of alternative content, promotion of media literacy and legal advocacy and monitoring. Combining local expertise and extensive international practice, ARM pursued an integrated approach to build civic demand for alternative content, promoted new patterns of information production and dissemination and enhanced public advocacy on media freedom.
The main focus of the program was to support Armenian media outlets to embrace the opportunities and challenges brought by technological advances and to build on traditional tools in bringing independent and quality news to the Armenian population. ARM program also helped the Armenian people to become active creators of content and smart news consumers in the new information age. The program reached out journalists, media managers and citizen journalists to produce alternative content and disseminate that content across multiple platforms.
The program was jointly implemented by Internews (USA), Media Initiatives Center, Eurasia Partnership Foundation and Yerevan Press Club. The program was made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Lratun Media Museum
Lratun is a mobile museum presenting the history of Armenian Mass Media for the past two decades. What changes occurred within the Mass Media after declaring Armenia independent? How did the media report significant events happening in the country caused by different exceptional circumstances, such as the Spitak Earthquake, elections, referendums, October 27, March 1.
Within the framework of the ARM project, Lratun Media Museum organized an exhibition devoted to the coverage of Spitak Earthquake. Specially designed pavilions displayed enlarged front-page samplings of major newspapers and outstanding reports, most noteworthy historical scenes portrayed by the photographers, TV newsfeed, interviews with “forefathers” of Armenian media outlets.
Lratun’s exhibits focuse on introducing the mechanisms of news production and helping them to critically and analytically read the news in the flow of information. Games, quizzes and tests are offered to visitors, who become familiar with the problems facing journalists in unexpected situations, and are asked to solve ethical dilemmas.
In the interactive “Simulation Room” visitors had the opportunity to take part in the creation of a television program – they could pick up a microphone, step before the camera and experience what it is like to be a TV presenter or a journalist. This could be a good incentive to help schoolchildren understand the media process.
Permanent and thematic displays were organized in various towns of Armenia.
Media Initiatives Center developed a media literacy curriculum aimed at educating conscious and informed media consumers, who are able to critically analyze media, to differentiate between the fact and opinion, information and advocacy, and to comprehend the purpose and principles of media. The 10 topics of the curriculum are presented through a handbook for high school teachers. Each topic of the handbook is presented in a definite structure, theoretical and practical components, assignments, multimedia materials and useful links.
Also part of the media literacy program is the digital game Mediamart ("media battle") in which children answer quiz questions, write a news story, produce a radio piece, gather a TV report, take a photo of a current event, and so on.
During the six years of the project almost 150 school-aged young people of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia became familiar with the ABC of journalism and tried out the roles of anchors and reporters. 135 young people spent one summer month in the media camp, where they learned television production and peacemaking journalism.
From 2004 on, the young journalists worked with their mentors to prepare 265 television programs with over 1.500 stories that told the life stories of young people from the three countries and presented the young people’s views on life. The programs were broadcast on large television companies in three languages – Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian. In Armenia the program name was Menk Enk. The project was implemented with the assistance of USAID and British Embassy Yerevan.
Through this project Armenian human rights organizations had better knowledge of new media tools. During two years 120 people representing 72 NGOs and 6 civic groups participated in trainings learning to develop and disseminate information through new media platforms. Theoretical and practical sessions built their capacity to develop media strategies for advocacy and to use new media for disseminating information. Trainees learnt real media skills including blogging, making and disseminating multi-media materials. “Social Media for Human Rights Protection” manual was published.
Human rights NGOs and civic initiatives received grants, technical assistance, on-site consultancy and equipment to implement media campaigns about pressing human rights problems. As a result, activities of Armenian human rights organizations were voiced through the online platforms, which fostered effective interaction with beneficiaries, the media, and the public. The project was implemented with the assistance of Internews (US) through funding support received from the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).
A series of TV programs, which presented diverse, pluralistic and objective information on elections: legislation, state and social structures, voters' rights protection, involvement of various social groups, cases of violation of law, etc. Human stories, viepoints and analysis were presented. The TV program was in the genre of infotainment: social, legal and political information on elections was combined with entertainment.
The TV program was produced during 2007-2013 and was timed with Parliamentary, Presidential and Municipality Elections. The TV program was broadcast by various channels in Yerevan and regions.
The project expanded cooperation and interaction between journalists and filmmakers of Armenia and Turkey. Armenian and Turkish journalists visited the neighboring country, traveled around, met people representing various spheres and became familiar with the political and social life, culture and history. During that period they published almost 300 articles, radio and TV reports and features.
Further, Internews trained students of university film and journalism departments to documentary film techniques and provided mentoring for the production of small films featuring a social theme from their neighboring country.
Internews’ partners organized a bus tour of 16 Armenian and Turkish journalists from Turkey to Armenia, and produced talk-shows, which were broadcast by Yerkir Media TV company in Armenia and IMC in Turkey.
The project was implemented in partnership with Yerevan Press Club, Global Political Trends Center (Turkey), CAM Films (Turkey) and Internews Network with funding support received from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL).
A joint project of Internews Armenia and Internews Azerbaijan, targeted at students of journalism faculties to facilitate their joint production of documentary films. Through the project, the students obtained professional skills and were provided with an advanced practical environment for highlighting social issues of interest to the young audience of the South Caucasus. The project was implemented with support of United States Institute of Peace.
Public screenings of 21 documentary films produced by young Karabagh Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The authors depict today’s reflection of the Karabakh war through human stories. All films are about the war, though there are no weapons and fighting. The screenings were an attempt to make the films accessible to wide audience throughout Armenia for promoting discussion on the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, peace process and resolution. The funding for screenings was provided by European Union, and one for the film production by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The project aimed at increasing understanding of the values that are at the base of the European Neighbourhood Policy, including democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance. For this purpose a consortium of television and radio broadcasters, print and online publishers in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia worked closely with Internews to integrate a maximum of high quality EU and EU-ENP relevant information into the content of their media products.
By drawing the public attention to the human dimension of the ENP, Internews Media Support NGO, in partnership with Public Television Company of Armenia, Radio Hay and 168 Zham Newspaper, highlighted dynamics of cooperation between Armenia and EU countries in various ENP fields. They strived to guarantee quantitative and qualitative growth on media production devoted to in-depth coverage of ENP issues, reaching all social groups, with an emphasis on young people.
Armenian Consortium members activities included:
- Discover Europe PSAs, produced by Internews and broadcast by the Public TV;
- European Formula talk-show, produced and broadcast by the Public TV;
- Parallels special reports, produced by Internews and broadcast by Public TV;
- Kids’ Crossroads in Europe news/features, produced by Internews and broadcast by Public TV;
- European Perspective radio talk-show, produced by Internews and aired by Radio Hay;
- European Window supplement to 168 Zham newspaper.
Series of television documentaries entitled “Farewell to Arms: From Belfast to Balkans” and about ethno-territorial conflicts in Europe. The production was carried out by mixed teams of Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists, producers and cameramen who shared their points of view, approaches, styles and methods of working. For the first time in the two countries an attempt was made towards bringing various perspectives and voices of specific conflicts into the open by providing a platform for discussions.
The films highlight origin and development of the conflicts, human tragedies and state interests, historical lessons and possible solutions. The series includes the following films: Ordinary Utopia (Basque Country); Undivided Island (Cyprus); On the Verge of Trust (Northern Ireland); Islands of Luck (Aland Islands); Weather in Mountains (South Tyrol); Between Pain and Hope (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
A joint project of Internews Armenia, Internews Georgia and Internews Azerbaijan, targeted at students of journalism faculties to facilitate their joint production of documentary films. Through the project, the students obtained additional professional skills and were provided with an advanced practical environment for highlighting social issues of interest to the young audience of the South Caucasus. The documentaries are available here.
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