The Use of Stereotypes in Armenian Media: A Research Analysis 

What negative stereotypes are commonly used in Armenian media, who spread them, and who are the targets?

As part of the “Armenian Media Development Program,” the Yerevan Press Club conducted a study last October to determine the extent and nature of negative stereotypes in the local media. The study examined the main news releases, debate programs, articles, and interviews of 8 media outlets.

Which statements were considered as negative stereotypes?

During the monitoring, accusations against representatives of current and previous authorities and different layers of society were considered negative stereotypes.

1․In the case of the current authorities:

  • Accusations of “betrayal,” “surrender of lands,” and “capitulation” regarding the difficulties and misfortunes affecting Armenia and Artsakh.
  • Accusations related to ineffective, failed governance of the country.

2․In the case of representatives of the previous authorities (until May 8, 2018):

  • Accusations regarding responsibility for the outcome of the 44-day war and the surrender of Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Allegations related to being “corrupt” and “subjecting the population to violence”.

3․ In the case of representatives of different layers of society:

  • Statements about acting in favor of other states at the cost of Armenia’s interests.
  • Accusations of “betraying” Armenian national interests (in general) by NK officials and claims of “handing over” Artsakh.
  • In cases when crimes and illegalities were committed in Armenia and their Karabakh origin was emphasized.

Which media were considered?

When selecting the media for monitoring, we considered their political positioning, broadcasting formats, attention to political events, and traditional influence on public opinion.

The following media were considered:

  1. “Morning”
  2. “The First Channel of Public Television”
  3. “The News Channel of Public Television Company”
  4. “The Second Armenian TV Channel”
  5. “Erkir Media”
  6. “168 hours”
  7. “1in.am”
  8. “Civic.am”

During the October 1-31 monitoring, 210 publications were singled out from the eight media outlets and were identified to have mentioned stereotypes 233 times.

The research findings revealed that 73% of the 233 references containing negative stereotypes were directed towards the current authorities. The second highest recipients of negative stereotypes were the representatives of different layers of society. Interestingly, the former authorities received the least negative stereotypes, according to the study.

Out of 170 references to the current government, 163 or 69.9% of the total stereotypes applied referred to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, the conflict with Azerbaijan. Stereotypical references to the topic of inefficient management were much less and made up only 3.1%.

Most of the negative stereotypes against them were in “Aravot” publications. They made up 36.5% of all stereotypical statements about the authorities.

With this index, “Aravot” has surpassed “168 Zham”, “Armenian Second TV Channel,” and “Yerkir Media,” all of which are associated with opposition political forces.

Among the eight media outlets studied, “First News Channel of the Public Television of Armenia” and “1in.am” had no negative stereotypes directed towards the current government.

According to the research, individuals from various social backgrounds are the second most common group to receive negative stereotypes, following the current authorities. Around 17.2% of all stereotypical accusations were made against them.

The website “Civic.am,” associated with the government, has been particularly active in disseminating negative stereotypes about this group. More than half of the stereotypes, specifically 52.5%, were published on this website.

It was found that the second most concerning issue after the Karabakh conflict was the issue of “traitors” and “spies” acting against Armenia’s interests, which accounted for 9.8% of negative stereotypical references. Additionally, there were 6.1% stereotypical references to Nagorno-Karabakh officials who were accused of “betraying” Armenian national interests by “handing over” Artsakh. These references were included in the subgroup of representatives of different layers of society.

According to a recent survey, only 9.8% of stereotypical accusations were directed towards former government representatives. In 5.5% of cases, they were held responsible for the outcome of the 44-day war and the “capitulation” of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 4.3% of cases, the accusations were related to corrupt administration.

According to the current discourse in Armenia, there are more allegations against the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities (6.1%) than against the former authorities of Armenia (5.5%) regarding the issue of “handing over” Nagorno-Karabakh and failure in the Karabakh issue.

Journalistic ethics violations

During the research, it was found that journalists and presenters often express negative stereotypes and personal opinions. This behavior goes against the principle of journalistic ethics, namely impartiality. Among the media outlets studied, “168 Hours” had the highest number of stereotypical references, with 22 out of 47 (46.8%) voiced by their journalists and presenters. “Aravot” and “Civic.am” came in second and third with 25.6% and 23.5%, respectively.

The research reveals that the website “Civic.am”, which is affiliated with the authorities, is found to be the most frequent user of hate speech. Out of the 34 instances of negative stereotypes found on the website, 4 of them (11.8%) contained hate speech and violent language. The “Armenian Second TV Channel” ranked second in the index of hate speech, while “168 Hours” ranked third in the same index.

Marianna Danielyan

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