On July 15, the National Security Service released a video urging the media to take into account the tense situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and not to use Azerbaijani information resources, to avoid provocations and information that spreads panic.
The NSS posted screenshots in the article, which are not subject to dissemination, mentioning it with a special word – “misinformation.”
Among those screenshots was the news “Azerbaijani Armed Forces shelled the village of Aygepar” published on Hetq on July 14, which the NSS called “misinformation.”
It was a surprising experience in itself, as the Azerbaijani websites, the posts of propagating-users and one of the most popular media outlets in Armenia were placed on the same plane.
It was possible to assume that there was a mistake in the hastily made video (after all, the NSS tools to check the media work may not be subtle, high-quality and fresh), but later it became clear that the NSS had taken on a function which is not a good idea.
Daniel Ionnisyan, head of the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, asked the NSS for an explanation as to why Hetq’s material was considered misinformation.
The NSS’ response received on July 22 stated that Hetq had published the news earlier than the official sources had confirmed, so it was “misinformation.”
“The information disseminated by Hetq at the time the video was prepared and disseminated by the RA NSS Press Center had not yet received official confirmation; at that time, chronologically, it was considered ‘misinformation.’
According to the NSS, it turns out that the news that is true, but only at certain moments (hours), is misinformation (fake, false). An hour ago it was a lie, and an hour later it was true.
And if, for example, the Ministry of Defense has not yet formulated the truth (it has not had time, it has thought about the formulations for a while), then it is a lie. For example, Aygepar was not bombed if the official structures did not write about it. The shelling took place only when the official structures wrote about it, even when the shelling has already been documented by the media.
Checking the news and facts with such a chronological methodology, or even putting such an explanation in an official letter, proves that the NSS has a delicate neurological surgical function, which it performs with an ax and a hammer.
And as long as the NSS has not provided any other explanation and apology (not only from Hetq, but from all citizens) as to why this very structure has entered into a philosophical dispute between truth and falsehood and makes definitions based on chronology, it is possible to consider that this is still an official point of view.
That you can be right only at the right time.
The call of the NSS “to show a conscious approach to the existence of the problem and to unequivocally rely on the news from official sources” becomes twofold.
You did not rely on the slow-moving official news? Did you dare to be faster and respect the audience? Then you are spreading “misinformation.”
This, of course, is a new word in the media. And it would be good not to have such a word at all. Otherwise, the NSS becomes a platform for “misinformation” until it can soberly articulate the meaning and consequences of the word.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.