Our Recipe for Resistance

18.11.2011, Critique

Journalist, works for "A1+" website.

The First News ("Arajin Lradvakan") correspondent was mocking me at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office with the following words: "I'm trying to find the person in your Haylur pieces."

She was alluding to my view that man is absent from Armenian TV stations that I discussed in an earlier piece. The Arajin Lradvakan correspondent wanted to say that there were no people in my TV news reports as well, which were recently broadcast by Haylur. But it's interesting — what did I write about? About the fact that the person is absent similarly from Haylur (now Arajin Lradvakan) pieces and for this reason a great many reports can be prepared on Azerbaijani corpses. 


We can stand at the head of an Azerbaijani corpse killed at the line of defense and speak about the courageous Armenian soldier who shot him. We spoke about it. Then? The person in this case is not only the Armenian soldier who settled accounts with the Azerbaijani who killed Armenian soldiers, nor is the reporter, who is trying to raise army morale with this report. Man is everywhere and more frequently occurring — far away from military bases and the line of defense. And everyday he is his army's morale, if you're honest with him. 


A TV reporter in and of herself doesn't make sense, any person, even he who don't have a television, is presumed to be possible content for the TV reporter — if this person exists, TV reporting has meaning, but if this person is absent, there's no point.


And do you know what man in TV news means? It means to explain the political commentary of the news, not to see the political institute in the main subject: he or she is someone's son or daughter, mother or father. Which is why only the Yerkir Media reporter can dig up the student who will say that her ideal was Democratic Republic of Armenia's First Interior Minister Aram Manukyan. And what? The young person also wants to die from spotted typhus?


The reporter, with her political bent, dug out from this youth the contemporary; she left alone her main subject after finding out his political ideal. Do you understand that the person has flipped upside down, he's not even an Azerbaijani corpse, for you to laugh at heroically; the majority don't know who they're dealing with or why.


The host on H1's Interview program asks her Jewish guest whether he knew that 13–14th century Jewish cemeteries were discovered recently in Armenia. And she continues — working cemeteries. The guest was a man of good manners: he didn't ask how the Armenians were able to discover that it was a working cemetery, where the last burial was in the 14th century.  


There's a problem here. The problem is that people don't know what questions are being resolved here, in the media sector, by what rules of the game TV reporters are playing; more accurately, policy makers in TV news, what is their 'ideal' in TV news?


How does it go through someone's head to dramatize relations between soldiers and senior officers, simply because people are killed more often in the army? How can you see yourself in the eyes of the reporter and say, that day I was walking down Northern Avenue, I enjoyed it so much, will you prepare a story? Where is the person (in all this)?


The author of Tesankyun ("Point of View") interprets the oligarchs' potential tears after the application of the proposed "luxury tax". They're human, that's fine. And the reporter deciphering the tears is also human, who says: "This small group does everything to foil the government's initiative".


First, it's none of your business, this small group, that is, the oligarchs, they are funding you too; they are taxpayers. Second, who are we talking about here, where is the small group of the wealthy on the airwaves? Third, perhaps you could've addressed, generally speaking, what is an oligarchy doing in a true democratic country? Fourth, large groups are demanding a raise in their salaries and do not have the means to get what they want, nor are they in a position to foil any government conspiracy. Fifth, what example of bringing about a wreck do you know, about which you are being silent as a reporter? 


You give the example and we'll get the person in place. Bring the person into the arena; your sentence is virtual. When describing a criminal, you give details to the crime; we see the man who had fallen (all the TV news reports on Nov. 17 were announcing that Themis punished the man accused of pedophila). 


We assume some responsibility to interpret what happened, because the facts first and foremost ensure resistance (immunity), since man recognizes his recipe for resistance in everything. Television is no exception, even soap operas are elements of this recipe, where some find something that threatens them which they hadn't even foreseen.


Let's accept that this is likely. And in TV news, the Armenian viewer's recipe for resistance is in the international news — Bangkok is underwater; the number of casualties from the earthquake in Van, Turkey, passes 500; a youth opposition rally in Azerbaijan is dispersed with the use of truncheons. 


People, Armenia is faced with demographic uncertainty, the French say. The government, in its budget, has not solved the question of future newborns, has not inspired optimism in any working organism. Former Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratyan was speaking about this on Nov. 17. Where were the TV companies?


Here even the current prime minister was deprived of a recipe for resistance: from who else is he to know that you don't appear in front of people inebriated? From Facebook, where sometimes non-normative words are expressed? He can, of course, find out from news sites, but the two most authoritative news sites (according to Circle.am, which lists ratings and statistics for Armenian web resources) published the news about the prime minister appearing drunk while he gave a speech only after the PM refuted it. And that's all. 


By the way, the TV companies did the same without evidence of the intoxication of the country's third most important figure, merely with silent footage. A drunk person, even if it's the prime minister, certainly shouldn't be a subject of laughter, but who said we can prepare a TV report on the sex workers standing near Yerevan Lake or the Jehovah's Witnesses who invade our apartments, but we must overlook inebriated high-ranking officials?


Isn't it so that he assaulted our eyes and ears? He is not the person most expected to be intoxicated in our apartments. But preparing a report you would have nourished our resistance; perhaps we were thinking the prime minister was excessively drinking because of an accumulation of problems. Maybe the man buckled under the weight.  


In the end, what are the facts? To become informed of the challenges which helps us not to be egocentric. When nothing is done, let us admit an official becomes an egocentricity. 


By the way, do you know what one of former President of Armenia Robert Kocharian's close officials confessed? He said, "In the last one and half years, we have lost connection with reality." What did that disconnectedness end with? With March 1.


So, as things stand, don't expect any free and fair elections.


Mher Arshakyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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