single Category Archives media

files_in_gyumri_300.jpgAn aspiring government watchdog in Armenia faces an uphill battle. Weak safeguards against corruption and a government-dominated media have led to widespread distrust of elected officials and most news outlets. A recent Open Society Foundations report cites the country for "lack of independence of regulatory institutions, non-transparent media ownership," and a slow-developing media sector.

Levon Barseghyan, activist and founder of the Journalists Club Asparez, says mainstream media has so little credibility that Armenians watch state TV using "a vice versa approach."

Asparez (or "Arena") hosts one of the country's top 10 news web sites, To foster public knowledge and government accountability, they are also tracking public funding to schools and regional governments, then posting and charting the results online at

The Super Bowl was sealed up tight as a drum. Chain-link fences ringed the stadium. A detail of 5,000 police was on hand. The area was declared a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, on the airwaves, CBS had decided to refuse an ad purchase by, for a spot criticizing the Bush deficit. In our locked-down, buttoned-up age, everything had been done to keep things under control and let the padded gladiatorial tradition unfold seamlessly. No one expected the attack from within, when a pretty white boy who sounds black and pretty black girl who looks white gave CBS and one zillion viewers what they hadn't counted on, a glimpse of unscripted, uncensorable, naked humanity, in the person of Janet Jackson's right breast. This is America, 2004. Millions are spent to shield us from an unseen enemy who may or may not be circling waiting to strike. Millions more go into media…