Armenian bloggers awarded Na/Ne journalism awards for covering women issues

Artur Papyan (that's me), country coordinator of Media Diversity Institute, Armenian office, hands over Na/Ne award certificate to Artak Vardanian, 1st prize winner in blogging category

Three Armenian blogs, along with well established print, online, TV and radio media, received awards at the Na/Ne 2009 Annual Journalism Award Ceremony held in Yerevan on Tuesday.
Banadzev media production company’s blog took the 1st prize in blog category,  with Radio Van’s blog coming second, while journalist, social media guru Shushan Harutyunyan’s Blansh blog took the 3rd slot. Continue reading “Armenian bloggers awarded Na/Ne journalism awards for covering women issues”

PM Tigran Sargsyan to interact with public 'directly' via newly launched blog

00001ed9 Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan has officially launched his blog, which, he hopes, will help him directly interact with public.
“It is important for me to make sure, that you understand how I think”, Tigran Sargsyan, 50, father of 3,Ph. D in economics, has written in his first entry in a LiveJournal blog opened in November, but officially made public today.
The blogger has specified “Prime Minister of Armenia” as main occupation in the blog’s user information page. I verified from a reliable source – this is indeed Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan.
Continue reading “PM Tigran Sargsyan to interact with public 'directly' via newly launched blog”

Blogging Karabakh, or Observer’s Top 9 list of Karabakh blogs

Monument "We Are Our Mountains", widely recognized as a symbol of Nagorno-Karabakh

I’ve been only able to draw a Top 9 list of blogs from Karabakh, because there are only 9 blogs from Karabakh that I know of currently and will greatly appreciate links to any other blogs from Karbakh out there.
Meanwhile, meet these guys (thanks to Kornelij for listing them). A common feature of all – Russian language.
Continue reading “Blogging Karabakh, or Observer’s Top 9 list of Karabakh blogs”

Online journalists now jailed more than those in any other medium

Reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary, more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, released today, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ’s prison census. Continue reading “Online journalists now jailed more than those in any other medium”

The Armenian Observer blog news

Starting from today the Armenian Observer blog will be available on http://ditord.com domain along with its old http://ditord.wordpress.com address. This has been done purely for your convenience so it will be easier to type the address of this blog. Meanwhile, I’m also looking for other authors/contributors to this blog, so if you are interested, please leave a comment to this entry.
I will be travelling intensively from September 1st to 15th, so for that period the blog will be updated less frequently. However, I’ll try to make sure, that no major development is left without our attention.
Meanwhile, this is a good occasion to remind you, that I also run a number of other blogs: The Armenian Citizen blog, Angry Root’s LJ and Munetik – the Armenian version of the Observer blog.

Photos: Armenia Elects New President

Election Day 006
Photos: Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
Armenia Election Monitor 2008 brings the first photos of the election day – “Finally the day has arrived”, writes Onnik Krikoryan with relief, “Whatever the outcome one thing is certain. In this round or a possible second, Armenia will elect a new president in a vote that international observers hope will represent a marked improvement over the last presidential election in 2003.”

in English

Armenia Votes Today!

2 million 328 thousand 320 voters are eligable to vote for the new president of the country, Athanatoi (Hrant)  writes in his blog,  reminding that 8000 police officers are on duty today to ensure security of the polls. The initial results of the Armenian presidential elections will be known by 6:00 AM on February 20th.

“Ah yes, today is the day where corruption, blind nationalism, and fraud all come together in the form of Armenia’s Presidential Election!” Rhyne of Armenia blog writes from US. “One thing’s for certain, this is not going to be a demonstration of democracy and whoever is elected will first and foremost get himself rich, then those near him, and whatever is left will be spread among the lower individuals in power”.

հայերեն

Watch Out! Propaganda Blogs or Observer's Blacklist of Campaign Blogs

Recent trends and developments in the Armenian blogosphere, whereby a range of extremely intolerant propaganda-blogs have sprang up, and have started attacking all and everyone around in the blogosphere – have taken the fun away from blogging. Instead of being the enjoyable personal hobby it once was, blogging now is increasingly becoming a risky business, a hostile environment, where you risk being attacked and harassed for your views.
Of course there was the trend, where “patriots” were attacking “liberals” in the blogosphere, and people were grouping together according to personal linking-disliking long before all these propaganda blogs had sprang up. But before – that was all a natural process, it was as any society works, and people were blogging, because they liked it. Today, as we see an increasing number of blogs, whose authors are blogging, not because they like to, but because they are assigned the task of posting all kinds of propaganda pieces by pro-Levon or pro-Serzh forces, including State Security services, I wonder, if they can be considered blogs at all? The way I see it – they are more like campaign posters or propaganda leaflets. At any rate, here is a list of blogs, which I have blacklisted so far, as they fall under the classification of non-blogs, or propaganda blogs, or agit-blogs – call them the way you like it:
1. http://azat2008.livejournal.com
2. http://countrev.livejournal.com
3. http://ppmv.livejournal.com
4. http://libero_am.livejournal.com
5. http://www.levonforpresident.com/am/33/
6. http://gazan2008.livejournal.com
7. http://winner2008.livejournal.com
8. http://azgainakan.livejournal.com
There are some 3-4 more, about which I have suspicions, but will not post here, until I have more evidence of them being commissioned to write by Levon’s team or Serzh’s minions. In fact, I have no such evidence about these ones either. But – these are the more suspicious ones so far. And I’m sure you have noticed more of these, so please kindly let me know about them in the comments section of this post. As to the rest of the REAL bloggers out there – my suggestion is let’s ignore all these fake blogs, these empty shells, because once the campaign is over, they will be gone, and we will stay. And we will feel ashamed for being artificially dragged into this whirlpool of black PR using blogs. Dear blogger-friends – beware! The Big Brothers are watching us!

Corruption in World Bank projects in Armenia Finally Make News Agenda

The World bank scandal became one of those, so far rare cases, when an important news item is consistently filtered out of the news agenda by traditional media, and only continuous blogging efforts persist in exposing it until the item finally becomes center of attention. As Onnik Krikoryan reports, although media in Armenia refused to cover the World Bank corruption scandal in Armenia several months ago, continuous efforts by British whistleblower Bruce Tasker on his own blog, Blowing the World Bank Whistle and also Oneworld Multimedia, the most popular English language Armenian blog,  finally rendered results. And although so far it is only RFE/RL reporting the developments, looks like the story will no longer stay in oblivion:

A U.S. anti-corruption watchdog joined on Thursday a British whistleblower in accusing the World Bank of covering up what they see as gross misuse of a $30 million loan that was meant to upgrade Armenia’s battered water infrastructure.
[]
Tasker claims that the installation of water meters was a major source of corruption among Armenian and foreign officials as well as private firms involved in the project’s implementation. He says local contractors alone were able to pocket up to $10 profit on the sale of each meter by charging customers for installation.

Onnik Krikoryan further reports, how media outlets have been reluctant to “get on the bad side of the World Bank”:

Tasker set up his blog when news outlets here refused to cover the story at the beginning of the year although the former finally did so only after this blog brought the alleged scandal to greater public attention. Eventually, some media outlets here did follow suit, but many publications here and abroad were hesitant in taking material from yours truly when I approached them. Nobody wanted to get on the bad side of the World Bank.
However, New Internationalist published my short piece on Tasker and his battle with the World Bank at the end of October. Now, RFE/RL reports that the scandal has hit the big time in Yerevan. However, the World Bank continue to deny any wrongdoing. Time will tell.

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