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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Karabakh independent newspaper Demo shuts down… 'voluntarily'

Bad news from Karabakh media field. One of the rare independent voices in Karabakh – Demo newspaper decided to shut down… 'voluntarily'. They specifically indicated that this decision was made by the editorial board without any external pressures. They cited lack of free media and organised political opposition as one of the reasons for making this decision. To be honest, I can’t see how not functioning of independent newspaper (even if as a protest action) will contribute to democratisation of society, as the editorial board claims.

7 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

I'm really surprised and it's a totally illogical decision unless it's a matter of the most extreme sense of self-censorship. As I understood it, Demo gets a lot of support from IWPR and Tom de Waal is in town in January. I'll raise the issue with him and Seda.

artmika said...

Yes, I am not convinced at all with the explanation provided by the editorial board. Would be good if you could try to find out more. Let's hope that they will be able to clarify the case.

Ani said...

Tangential to this post, but in de Waal's commentary on IWPR this week, it says he is leaving as Caucasus Editor. Any idea what's happening there, and who is taking his place?

http://www.iwpr.net/?p=crs&s=f&o=348797&apc_state=henh

Onnik Krikorian said...

Yeah, I knew Tom was moving on, but didn't realize when. Can't remember where too either, but FT springs to mind, but not sure. Anyway, no idea who will replace him. To be honest, was more concerned whether he'll replenish my marmite supply on his visit in January or not. Which reminds me... I must remind him. :-)

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

I believe Gegham Baghdassarian when he says that Demo is shutting down voluntarily.

It doesn't exactly take a vivid imagination to understand why the editorial board would reach the conclusion that it is pointless to write for a population that is mostly indifferent to ideals and preoccupied with petty, selfish, and adolescent fantasies, which is the justification for shutting down that they provide in their editorial, a big "Goodbye, and fuck you very much for your, erm, attention" to the demos the paper tried to write for.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Ok, so it seems that Demo has become an opposition rather than an independent paper and Baghdasarian is now actively involved in politics.

This makes securing funding more difficult, but it isn't entirely financial as he apparently wants to start up a political monthly.

artmika said...

Yes, they mentioned of plans on some kind of analytical political monthly. But it could never be a substitute for a more mainstream and accessible media. Who reads political monthlies? Only a narrow circle of people, if at all.

Of course, it's his right to do whatever he wants, but still a sad turn of events.

And Armen, I understand completely the frustration one may experience under such circumstances. But imagine if all independent or opposition media outlets decide to shut down for that reasons. Those who are in power would be only happy for such outcome. Therefore, I cannot accept their justification.