EU Sponsored Armenian Media Study Reveals Mixed Results

(RFE/RL)–A study conducted by an Armenian non-governmental organization has revealed that greater objectivity in the coverage of political events but growing use of "tabloid style" simultaneously characterize recent trends in the Armenian print media. The results of the study funded under a European Union program were unveiled on Thursday by the Yerevan Press Club–an organization dealing with media issues.

Speaking at a news conference–the Club’s chairman–Boris Navasardian–said local papers have grown more "neutral" writing about political parties and their leaders. Another positive development–according to him–is the larger volume of media advertisemen’s–which he said boost the publications’ independence. At the same time–Navasardian criticized papers–and especially the best selling daily "Aravot," for what he believes is their increased resemblance to the "yellow press" and resort to sensationalism.

Turning to the media content–Navasardian said figures in Armenia’s top political leadership are the most frequently mentioned by the press. According to the study–politics is the number one topic of the weekly newspapers. The dailies "Respublika Armenia" and "Yerkir" lead in the coverage of economics–with 13 to 15 percent of their space usually devoted to the issue. The research found that "Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,"Azg," and "Aravot" write more on social–cultural and international affairs than others do.

The study draws on the results of a two-month media monitoring. Navasardian said next year the Press Club will conduct a more detailed research based on a longer span of monitoring.

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