By Siranuysh Gevorgyan ArmeniaNow
During the Karabakh war and 20 years of cease-fire that followed the war of information was a “buddy” constant conflict.
Angela Elibegova, a specialist in Azerbaijani studies based in Yerevan, said the winning side in the war Armenia has not paid attention to the confrontation of information for a long time, however, when the Azerbaijan began to intensively distortions of various facts about the conflict and the war and issued Armenia began to develop a wide range of policy tools at an official level.
Since 2009, a large group of multi-specialists began working in Armenia. They managed to coordinate information on the Karabakh conflict and present through books, websites and scientific work.
“For example, the draft xocali.net collected all the photos the Azerbaijani side has used in various brochures, posters and discovered that they have no connection with the events in Khojaly. Thus, Azerbaijan has not used photographs in their brochures and posters. In addition, the portal karabakhrecords.info was launched. It contains comprehensive information on the events of 1987-1992 in Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh and other programs as well, “said the expert.
Expert in business information Vrtanesyan Karen said there was little information in the early days of the conflict, and even before, during the Soviet years, mostly expressed through scientific articles. In recent years, pirate attacks on the Internet have become an important part of the information confrontation, which runs on some important days in the history of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
“After the war, the Armenian side has started to address its internal problems and the Azerbaijani side started to be active. Plus they have recovered more they acted proactively in the informational sphere. Thus, the more we started the war, more intensive campaign Azerbaijan has increased. If we follow the rhetoric it seems that the active war is not over yet, “says Vrtanesyan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his public speeches often uses military rhetoric – it is generally said that sooner or later will return Karabakh to Azerbaijan, he also likes to mention indices emigration from Armenia stressing that Azerbaijan exceeds Armenia by both the population and its natural resources, so they can easily conquer Armenia. The co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the OSCE on the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict in all their ads do not encourage them to use the rhetoric of war, stressing that this creates additional tensions. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian is normally reserved in his statements and most often on the international scene, he emphasizes Aliyev uses bellicose rhetoric, saying that the Azeri leader openly preaches hatred and animosity.
In February at the meeting of the Union of Yerkrapah Volunteers President Sarkisian turned to Azerbaijan with a detailed discourse. He spoke limits incidents, civilian and military casualties as a result of violations of the cease-fire and said that “it is murder and the Azerbaijani campaign presents it to their nation as a struggle for Karabakh” .
“The killings follow another purpose – to intensify the situation regularly and maintain the fire of hatred to all Armenians. The anti-Armenianism is the idea around which they want to collect the new Azerbaijani nation and around which they want to train their so-called “national ideology”. Hatred towards Armenians becomes synonymous with patriotism, “said Sarkisian.
Armenian experts believe that Aliyev’s military rhetoric is very effective, especially for the internal public.
“I normally call it a campaign in wartime. Firstly, one of the objectives of the campaign is to keep them mobilized nation, led to the Armenians and Armenia. Each problem is explained in Azerbaijan by Armenians, even in internal struggles when they want to get rid of someone, they say that the mother or father of the person is an Armenian. The other purpose is to divert attention from domestic problems to the external enemy – the Armenians, “says Karen Vrtanesyan.
Elibegova also emphasizes that Aliyev’s military rhetoric is very effective for the internal public. “They have learned to their electorate to believe in everything, everything that comes from above, television and never analyzed. For 20 years, they said that they would soon liberate Karabakh, and all these 20 years, they believed in it. But, for example, the younger generation who has never met or known one Armenian Karabakh is quite indifferent to the question, “said the expert who closely follows the Azerbaijani media.
Experts consider a serious problem in the information war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the fact that the Armenian media often reproduce false Azerbaijani information without checking the facts, without seeking information more valuable to a third source. However, Elibegova Vrtanesyan and say that this trend was more prevalent there a few years ago, today the Armenian media are more cautious.
“Our information field is very diverse, there is the media of different political orientations, there is the media for promotional purposes which do more harm to Armenia that Azerbaijan itself. Azerbaijani media often use the statements of Armenian politicians who are supposed to be directed to the internal public, but become very convenient for Azerbaijan. In particular, Azerbaijan is working very hard on the thesis of the devaluation of the Armenian victory in the war. One of these theories is that Russia fought for us, but for Russia, Azerbaijan would have won, and this thesis has recently been heard in the Armenian media as “said Vrtanesyan.
Vrtanesyan also note that, unlike the Armenian media there is a tight vertical supervision on Azerbaijani media. “The whole information field is carefully controlled, and it’s all done in a very coordinated manner, we feel that in the morning they receive a document that has everything to say and with a slight change the same thesis campaign is distributed. “
“In Azerbaijan, you can clearly see the hierarchy, how the orders come from above, how they get spread, what happens to journalists who do not agree with the rules of the game, as Rauf Mirkadirov (he was arrested on charges of spying for Armenia), Khadija Ismayilova (she was repeatedly blackmailed, and spied a video on his personal life has been found on the net). The rules are very clear – either you are either with the system or you are destroyed “said Elibegova.
According to the latest Freedom House report, Armenia and Azerbaijan remain among countries “not free press.” According to the report in 2014, the Azerbaijani indications seem very negative while the country is advertised as going in a wrong direction. It is especially important to silence independent voices, the voices that are heard on the Internet. The situation in Armenia is better. “