New York Times Revises Policy on Armenian Genocide

ANCA welcomes historic move by newspaper to properly characterize Armenian Genocide

WOODSIDE–NY–The New York Times has lifted its long-standing policy against the use of the term "Armenian Genocide," reported the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of New York.

According to a news release by the International Association of Genocide Scholars–The New York Times revised guideline for journalists states that "after careful study of scholarly definitions of ‘genocide,’ we have decided to accept the term in references to the Turks’ mass destruction of Armenia’s in and around 1915." The policy goes on to note that "the expression ‘Armenian genocide’ may be used freely and should not be qualified with phrasing like ‘what Armenia’s call,’ etc."

The New York Times guidelines continue–noting that–"by most historical accounts–the Ottoman Empire killed more than one million Armenia’s in a campaign of death and mass deportation aimed at eliminating the Armenian population throughout what is now Turkey." Finally–it advises journalists that "while we may of course report Turkish denials on those occasions when they are relevant–we should not couple them with the historians’ findings–as if they had equal weight."

"We welcome this decision taken by the New York Times as a meaningful step toward ending official US complicity in the Turkish government’s campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide," said ANC of New York Chairperson Tony Vartanian. "We appreciate the tremendous contribution of all organizations–historians and activists who–over the years–worked to provide the necessary information to the New York Times so that they can make this informed–but long overdue decision. Armenian Americans feel a tremendous sense of pride that the Times–the paper of record–no longer actively participates in the denial of this great crime against humanity."

The New York Times’ recently released guidelines returns the newspaper to its policy of accurate reporting established during the years of the Armenian Genocide. Nearly 200 articles on the genocide were published by The New York Times between 1914 and 1922–all of which were compiled in a book by Richard Kloian titled "The Armenian Genocide-News Accounts from the American Press: 1915-1922."

For more than two decades–the ANC–working with its network of grassroots activists around the country–initiated several nationwide campaigns to press The New York Times to end its practice of dismissing the Armenian Genocide as simply an Armenian historical claim. Armenian Weekly editor Jason Sohigian has written extensively to the New York Times–working to provide timely information and input to the editorial staff.

Last year–the ANC of Eastern Massachusetts spearheaded the successful effort to urge the Boston Globe to suspend its policy against the use of the term "genocide" when referring to the Armenian Genocide. The decision was made in July 2003–setting a precedent for its parent company–The New York Times–to reexamine its policy.


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