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On July 4 the office of Yerevan Press Club hosted another session of the Media Ethics Observation Committee meeting. The Observation Committee was formed on March 10 at the meeting of the heads of media and journalistic associations who supported the YPC initiative to jointly develop the main norms of professional ethics and further follow them in their day-to-day activities. At the meeting the Code of Conduct of Media Representatives was adopted along with the Declaration on Election and Referendum Coverage Principles as an addendum to the Code (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 9-15, 2007). The documents were signed by 19 media of Armenia.
The agenda of the session on July 4, unlike the previous ones, dealing with organization issues, focused directly on the mission of the Observation Committee.
In particular, the Observation Committee reviewed the findings of the survey, administered by YPC in late June among the 23 parties/bloc, running in parliamentary elections of 2007, to find out their basements and opinions on the Armenian media coverage of the election campaign. According to the survey findings, only one of the parties assessed the media activities for the period as “excellent”, 5 parties thought the work of media was “good”,
11 – “mediocre”, 6 – “unsatisfactory”.
The respondents were also offered to name three media that were the most objective in reporting the election campaign. Here the list was headed by “Aravot” daily and the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that were named by 12 and 10 parties respectively. The third place was shared by the First Channel of the Public Television of Armenia, the Public Radio of Armenia and “Yerkir Media” TV company that gained 6 votes each.
The respondents also had a chance to name the three media that, in their opinion, were partial in covering the election campaign. The greatest number of negative assessments went to “ALM” TV company (9 parties), followed by “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily (6 parties), the third place was taken by “Golos Armenii” newspaper and PTA First Channel. It should be noted also that out of the media involved in the self-regulation initiative, the Second Armenian TV Channel and “Aravot” daily received three negative assessments each.
In the survey the representatives of five parties quoted one specific example each, when in pieces on elections the media broke the norms of journalistic ethics. Two of these cases are related to the work of media, involved in self-regulation initiative. Both facts, along with other complaints received by the Observation Committee, will be additionally studied and discussed at the next session.