Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Is A1+ dead? You know, the REAL one, the one which I liked...

This report today (video above, in AM, for written version follow this link) by independent / pro-opposition A1+ TV station which was forced to cease broadcasting for apparent political motives, and currently in an online mode, made me think. May be those who closed down A1+ after all succeeded in their mission?... Is A1+ dead?..

The A1+ I knew was a premier source for alternative news and reports, a tribune for voices you would not normally hear in a mainstream media, devoted to human rights... Or may be, after so many years, I started idealising that TV station, and I needed this reality check to see things more realistically.

When I was reading and watching this report which was supposedly about gays in Armenia, but in reality about sex workers who happened to be gay, transsexual or transvestite, I realised that I can no longer recognise the TV station I was a supporter and fond of.

If this is how the new face of journalism at A1+ will look like, then why would I even bother waiting for their return to TV screens in Armenia?! Optimistic part in me tries to believe that this is just a one-off failure rather than a new trend. But if standards of journalism would be as low as elsewhere, then why bother?

I wanted to see A1+ as the real plus one to Armenian TV media. Otherwise, one more, one less, doesn’t matter.

It’s not the fact that they decided to do a report on sex workers who are gay, transsexual or transvestites (Btw, they mixed up the terms). But an attempt to put an equal mark between sex workers and gays (and not only by A1+). This is what bothers me as totally wrong, uneducated and homophobic. It’s as if they start presenting all women as sex workers just because there are female sex workers.

Also, the general tone of the report was shifted to create a targeted negative attitude towards gays. It was homophobic. Full stop.
P.S. Thanks to my journalist friend Shushan Harutyunyan who pointed out to this article as unacceptable and homophobic via comments on Twitter.
Via @blansharm: Թող ինձ ներեն իմ կոլեգաները, բայց անէթիկական, հոմոֆոբիկ ու դելետանտական նյութ էր #Armenia #homophobia
After that, A1+ changed some of discriminatory Armenian terms to refer to gays into acceptable ones (“համասեռամոլ” into “միասեռական”), but not everywhere, and the report itself stands as it was.


Onnik Krikorian said...

Mika, sorry to put it like this, but there is no professional media in Armenia. Everything is politicized, opinionated, unprofessional and worse. This is the problem although yes, A1 Plus suffered when its leading journalist lights left after 2002.

The situation is worse today because of the low esteem in which journalism is considered by the public as well as by the fact that it is not financially independent or solvent. Why work for long as a professional journalist if eventually you can't earn a decent living?

The other problem is training courses. Even if a journalism student is taught well, editorial issues and media ownership realities mean they are unable to fully do their job properly. For now, however, the main issue is a combination of both.

That is, the state of the media financing/ownership in Armenia as well as the lack of professional, objective journalists.

And, of course, in this case, the prevailing societal issue is also to blame.

Incidentally, a recent report on the media in Armenia (and actually Azerbaijan too) summed up the situation thus.

Media consumers (i.e. the public) only access the news that reinforces their existing attitudes and opinions.

Probably, for the media producers, it helps them to give the punters what they need.

And that's even assuming the actual understanding of an issue from a journalist is better than that written.

Oh, and should I add that this is why it's so important you and others started blogging? Really, am so tired of the politicized Armenian blogosphere (simply a reflection of the existing media). However, what you're doing shows how these new/social media tools can empower those not properly represented in the media.

Hoping that it is this area of the blogosphere that is supported along with environmentalists, gender rights, conflict resolution/transformation people etc. because quite simply, the entire media in Armenia has failed and is not credible as a source of objective information on pretty much everything and anything.

artmika said...

Thanks, Onnik.

Sadly, all the points you've mentioned are very valid, indeed.

artmika said...

Btw, watching the video reinstated my belief - which I mentioned quite a few times on this blog too - that education is key and needed for LGBT Armenians too, including sex workers.