MASS MEDIA PROGRAM
The goal of the Mass Media Program is to foster independent, unbiased and pluralistic media in Armenia by means of creating a progressive and favorable legal framework regulating the field and harmonizing it with internationally-recognized principles and standards.† This is achieved through professional training of media managers, ensuring access to new Information Communication Technologies in the sphere of media and through establishment of media self-regulatory mechanisms. The Mass Media program attaches great attention to initiatives designed to ensure freedom of and access to information.
Year 2006 marked the beginning of pre-election activities. †The Foundationís Mass Media program supported the preparation and broadcast of TV debates and talk-shows in Yerevan and regions, with the aim to build equal opportunities for all political parties and candidates to present their party platforms. An election portal was created to cover the May 2007 parliamentary elections, www.e-channel.am, which will include official information on elections, as well as analytical articles, interviews, and interactive methods, i.e. forums and blogs, video clips, which made it the first website of its kind in Armenia. Both initiatives of the Foundation were co-funded by UNDP and the British Council.
OSIAF-Armenia Mass Media and Information Programs continue supporting the development of the Global Internet Initiative, which designs reviews on telecommunication and its regulation, including recommendations and advice on how to develop this field further and shares them with professionals, public agencies and legislative authorities (www.internet.media.am):
In 2006, the Mass Media Program continued its cooperation with the Partnership for Open Society Initiative. OSIAFA partner organizations in the field of media, the Yerevan Press Club and Internews Armenia Media Support NGO with other media organizations, representing the Partnership, succeeded in lobbying against the draft Law on making amendments to the Law on TV and Radio.† The Mass Media Program and Partnership organized a number of discussions on the issue, critiquing the proposed amendments and suggesting an alternative text.† As a result of their efforts, the media organizations were received by high-level officials to present their ideas on the draft law and were promised to be involved in the process of developing a new draft law.
In 2006, the Government drafted a Plan on Broadcast Digitalization. The Partnership brought it to the attention of international organizations, highlighting the importance of the document and the parts in it, which might lead to monopolization of media and other undesired consequences.† The Partnership, jointly with the OSCE Office in Yerevan, presented the Plan to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media for expertise and co-organized a public discussion with participation of the international expert that had provided her expertise on the Plan.† As a result, the Plan, which was meant to be speedily passed by the government, is now back at the Ministry of Communication, and will be further worked on in view of the recommendations of the civil society and the international expert.
During 2006, initiatives of OSIAF-Armenia Mass Media Program enjoyed the financial assistance of the British Council Armenia in the amount of 1000 GBP.