The Rapid Response Fund Initiative has been established to provide swift and unwavering support to the displaced Armenian media workers from Artsakh.
Public Journalism Club (PJC), the Media Initiative Center, the Yerevan Press Club, the Freedom of Information Center, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, the Stepanakert Press Club, and the Comprehensive Information Institute have developed the long-term vision, mission, and strategy of the initiative.
The objective is to develop mechanisms and secure financial resources to rapidly and effectively assist journalists forcibly displaced from Artsakh.
Seda Muradyan, co-founder of the Public Journalism Club, says that the Rapid Response Fund was initiated in 2020, after the 44-day war, to support journalists covering the war operations.
When we initially launched this program, we aimed to alleviate the psychological problems faced by journalists who covered the war. As part of the program, we offered one-time financial assistance to three partners who had acquired health problems due to their work during the war. Project beneficiaries have received psychological support for one year, and we have provided safety equipment to the editorial offices. Guidelines have also been developed for working in crisis situations,” says Seda Muradyan.
Unfortunately, the initiative established three years ago is necessary again today. The Rapid Response Fund has been initiated to gather data on journalists who have been forcibly displaced from Artsakh, identify their primary needs, and find solutions to alleviate them. The statement issued by the Journalist Organisations says that Artsakh journalists will become beneficiaries of the program after filling out the attached form.
We believe a comprehensive, extensive, and inclusive program will be successfully implemented. We hope to provide financial and psychological support to our partners. We aim to assist individuals in finding employment opportunities within the Armenian media industry. Additionally, many of these individuals have been deprived of their essential work tools, and as part of this program, we provide technical support. We are currently raising funds and will be able to determine the exact level of support we can provide once this is complete,” says Seda.
Stepanakert Press Club has also joined the initiative. According to Gegham Baghdasaryan, the President of the Club, this initiative can be very significant and helpful for the journalism community of Artsakh.
The people of Artsakh are currently facing a challenging and heartbreaking situation, which is particularly difficult for journalists covering the events. Despite encountering personal and familial tragedies, they are dedicated to reporting on the situation unfolding in Artsakh. Despite their own grief and pain, these individuals are putting their struggles aside to cover the stories of their fellow citizens. They experience the terrible reality alongside the material’s protagonist. However, this kind of selfless work can significantly affect their future life. And this initiative can be very appropriate and valuable for them,” says the head of the Stepanakert press club.
Gegham Baghdasaryan notes that the journalistic community in Artsakh is relatively small. The organizers of the initiative estimate that there will be around 100 beneficiaries of the Rapid Response Fund.