At the invitation of Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia, Chairperson of the boards of trustees of the My Step and City of Smile charitable foundations, editor-in-chief of Haykakan Zhamanak Armenian daily Anna Hakobyan attended the opening ceremony of the Pan-Armenian Conference of Armenian Media at the Mayravank Monastery in Antelias. The event began with opening remarks by His Holiness Aram I, and Armenia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Vahagn Atabekyan read the message of Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. In her speech, Anna Hakobyan touched upon the challenges facing Armenian media.
Anna Hakobyan said the following in her speech:
“Your Holiness, dear Mr. Ambassador,
Dear participants and organizers of the Pan-Armenian Conference of Armenian Media, guests,
First, I would like to express gratitude to Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia for declaring the year 2019 as the Year of Media and for organizing this conference.
Today, the media is in a crisis, and Armenian media, that is, the media in Armenia and media outlets in Armenian communities of the world are also in a crisis. Thus, this conference is appropriate and anticipated more than ever. I hope the participants of this conference succeed in identifying the most in-depth issues, discuss them and seek solutions.
I would like to get ahead of myself and voice hope that this conference becomes annual because the world is developing at a rapid pace and there are new problems and challenges, and we media representatives must respond to those challenges quickly and on time.
I won’t be able to participate in the sessions of the conference for obvious reasons because I always try to use my time as optimally as possible and manage to do a lot when I am abroad, and this visit is no exception. Since I won’t be here, I would like to recommend turning this conference into an annual event and adopt a document that we can refer to as a strategy. However, to achieve our goal, we need to be sincere with each other.
To be sincere, we need to call things by their names or have the courage to ask each other questions that are unpleasant.
I strongly believe that, in spite of all types of technological advancements, the media is still called for finding and disseminating reliable information. Besides disseminating information, the media has a mission to educate, set forth ideas, etc.
Reliable information is something that can’t be seen a lot in the media today. Instead, we receive unreliable information that is based on analyses that are made up. Of course, there are issues that are related to this.
The first and most important issue is funding. The second issue is the so-called media outlets that are mushrooming day after day on social media websites and spreading fake news. Even if I don’t list the other issues, I hope they are identified during the conference.
Today, in post-revolutionary Armenia, Armenian media isn’t going along with the people and the State. Today we are seeing the barrier between the media and the public and State, and if we don’t solve the problems soon, there will be a deeper barrier.
Dear colleagues, friends of many years, we have come a long way together, held many protests and overcome repressions against the media. True, I was still a beginning journalist during those years, but that doesn’t change anything. You stood by our side when my husband was in prison. We have competed with each other, been offended by each other and reconciled, and today, many of you are spreading lies about me and my family on a daily basis. I’m not saying this to reprimand you, but I want to be sincere and say that even though I feel bad and try to justify it in my mind, to a great extent, I accept those lies in the context of the problems that I mentioned.
I want to believe that we can appreciate the concept of a journalistic community and can have the pleasure of being in solidarity. We all saw that the authorities can become the opposition, but we journalists always need to stay the same. I understand that the words “wife of the Prime Minister” sound unique and make one associate me with someone special, but I want you to be rest assured that I am Anna, Nikol’s wife, your colleague whom no government or status can change.
Thank you for your attention. I wish the conference success.”