USIS Representative Discusses Armenian Mass Media

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The US Administration had defended the goals of the Karabakh committee until they won some territories in the sovereign state of Azerbaijan," director of the Armenia-based Office of the United States Information Service Morgan Liddick said at a Tuesday press conference when asked to comment on the sudden change in the United States’ attitude toward the Karabakh movement in the post-Soviet period. At first the US classified the Karabakh movement as a struggle in the name of democracy–however–they changed the term to an ethnic war after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Liddick said that–in fact–the US has not discarded its principles–but continues its basic approach.

Liddick–who is scheduled to leave Armenia later this week–opened a series of lectures organized by the Public Information Department of the Armenian mission to the United Nations and the Yerevan Press Club dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The speaker mentioned the issue of application of Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights in the United States which states the provision of freedom of speech and press. Although the US government attempts to regulate the activities of the press–the Supreme Court openly declares that it has no such right–Liddick reported. Only in special cases–if an item has potential to endanger an individual’s life–material may be withheld from publication–Liddick said.

He referred to the importance of providing public information. According to him–it is necessary for the press be allowed to monitor government activities. "If the government is let alone–it will gradually begin to take away the rights of the people," Liddick suggested.

During his lecture–Liddick raised the issue of the accusatory and preachy character of mass media representatives. The question of whether or not Armenian mass media was implementing its task of not receive special attention. Reminding journalists that they should be committed to facts–Liddick advised–"If you fail to provide the facts–leave this job."

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