In Armenia, DW Akademie supports a vibrant media sector by further professionalizing local media and promoting broadcasting of viable information.
The proliferation of false and misleading information has been a problem in Armenia’s media landscape for many years. The unprecedented challenges in 2020, however, have exacerbated the country’s vulnerability to disinformation. False and distorted narratives have already affected Armenians’ experience of two critical events: the COVID-19 pandemic and the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. As Armenians deal with the consequences of these crises, confronting the power of disinformation will be key to continuing recovery, building trust between citizens and the state, and safeguarding the country’s commitment to a democratic future.
To support this process, the consortium led by DW Akademie and consisting of the BBC Media Action, Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation Armenia (OSIAFA) and two Armenian media organizations, Hetq and Factor, are implementing the project “European Media Facility in Armenia – Building Sustainable and Professional Media”. It started on December 1, 2020 and will last for three years. The project will target media managers and independent journalists from national and regional media outlets, journalism students, small regional media outlets as well as other local stakeholders, such as universities.
With the joint efforts of DW Akademie and partners, the project will contribute to a vibrant Armenian media sector that is able to fulfil its role as a watchdog for Armenian society.
The “European Media Facility in Armenia - Building Sustainable and Professional Media” project is funded by the European Union and supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Supporting independent Armenian media to become more professional and financially sustainable is the project’s key element. Through direct cooperation, as well as engagement in the new E-school for media management, the project contributes to the professionalization of media outlets throughout Armenia. The Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation in Armenia directly supports regional media outlets with grants, increasing their financial and operational resources for producing quality media content. Audience research using Videometrics, a tool specifically designed by Deutsche Welle, will help media outlets to further engage with and learn from their audiences. Through trainings, workshops and consultation sessions by BBC Media Action, we promote their content’s quality and encourage internal policies meeting international standards of free and fair reporting.
According to a Freedom House report, the media landscape in Armenia is highly polarized between pro- and antigovernment outlets, with very few options in between. By building capacity and networks for fact-checking and investigative reporting, DW Akademie's partner Hetq equips media outlets with the necessary tools and skills to improve clarity and viable information in this polarized context. One of these tools is Truly Media, a software for collaborative fact-checking allowing journalists all over Armenia to collaborate and jointly verify information.
In this complicated context, a special responsibility lies upon future generations of journalists. To foster better education of journalism students, the project supports media educators from the Yerevan State and Brusov State Universities in order to stay abreast of current trends and tools in Europe. At the same time, the online TV channel Factor TV runs extensive professional journalism programs, further closing the gap between academic education and professional lived experience. Students are given the opportunity to create hundreds of articles throughout the project, using their acquired skills to actively contribute to the Armenian media landscape.
Funding: European Commission, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Sven Skoric
Locations: Yerevan and the regions of Armenia
International partners: BBC Media Action
Focus: media viability, civic participation, regional media, media management, networking, journalism education