Wednesday, August 15, 2012

International Mass Media: July 31

International Mass Media: July 31 By Lindsay Boyle

On Tuesday, July 31, the eighth International Mass Media summer course was held in Copeland Hall at the Ohio University campus. During each class, two SUSI scholars give a lecture about their own country’s media systems, journalism practices and political cultures. All of the lectures are streamed live through Ohio University distance learning and are available online to 35 students who are taking a summer class instructed by Dr. Brook Beshah.

The SUSI summer institute — in which scholars from all over the world come to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at OU to study journalism and media — is funded by an annual renewable grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Study of the U.S. Branch in the Office of Academic Exchange Programs.

Dr. Suren Deheryan

Dr. Suren Deheryan began by giving a summary of his past experience and a brief explanation of his institution, Yerevan State Linguistic University after Valery Brusov.

The journalism department at the latter was established in 2003. According to Deheryan, there are more female students than males within the journalism program. He said that, currently, the department is delving into online media, new media and citizen journalism.

Deheryan then gave an overview of Armenia, of which Yerevan is the capital city. He explained that Armenia gained independence in 1991 and operates as a republic with about six different political parties. Universal suffrage starts at 18 years of age.

The country’s primary ethnicity and language is Armenian, he said. There is a 99 percent literacy rate and a 7 percent unemployment rate.

In Armenia, Deheryan explained that freedom of speech is a right for all. Five different laws related to media systems ensure that that and other media freedoms are upheld.

An additional regulatory body, the Media Ethics Observatory, exists as part of a media self-regulation initiative. Deheryan said that its primary job is to make decisions regarding violations of the country’s professional media ethics code.

SUSI scholars and staff listen as scholar Dr. Suren Deheryan presents a lecture that is streamed live through OU distance learning, and is available online.

In 2010, libel was decriminalized in Armenia. Despite that, Deheryan said that some media experts have suggested that the change has been abused to put financial pressure on media. He cited the fact that 40 legal suits have been brought against journalists since libel was decriminalized as one such example.

According to Deheryan, there are about 18 national and foreign TV channels in Armenia, and about 96 percent of Armenians take advantage of the free analog TV that is accessible in all regions of the country. The National Commission on TV and Radio of Armenia is responsible for providing broadcasting licenses to channels.

The 10 daily newspapers in Armenia have low circulations, are low quality and often have politicized content, Deheryan explained. Additionally, most publications rely on sponsorships or funding from political groups for income rather than advertising. However, he said that those papers do typically have a high level of pluralism.

Deheryan said that online media, though they have largely only developed within the past three years, have proven to be quite different than traditional media. He explained that the increased diversity of online media has increased options for news consumers in Armenia.

In conclusion, Deheryan said that TV remains the primary source of information for most Armenians. Although print and radio media are steadily declining, online media is slowly growing. Additionally, he said citizen journalism is also growing as a way to bring up social issues and attract officials’ attention. However, he pointed out that there are large differences in media consumption between the capital city and the other regions of Armenia.

Prof. Bogdana Nosova

Scholar Bogdana Nosova started her presentation by explaining her past degrees, internships, and anchoring and print experiences.

Ukraine, she said, is a republic with a population of 46.2 million, in which Ukrainian and Russian are the primary ethnicities and languages. The country gained independence in 1991.

She explained that, because of its fertile earth, Ukraine is nicknamed “The Breadbasket of Europe.” However, according to Nosova, rapid development has led to developmental extremes, with wealth and new technology rampant in some areas, while poverty and outdated manufacturing facilities exist in others.

In the same manner, Nosova said that the development of democracy in Ukraine was also dynamic and drastic. Shortly after gaining independence, Ukraine launched into a decade of economic struggle, and citizens suffered from famine and governmental corruption.

Though the economy began improving at the turn of the century, an extremely marred 2004 presidential election led to The Orange Revolution, in which thousands of citizens engaged in peaceful protests until a revote was ordered by the Ukrainian Supreme Court. Then, in 2010, Ukraine underwent what was largely considered to be a fair and democratic presidential election.

Nosova then spoke briefly about the university where she teaches, the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, which is one of the highest-ranking universities in Ukraine. She is a professor in its Institute of Journalism, which she said has many well-known alumni.

In Ukraine, there is no system of public media — there are only state and private sectors. However, Nosova said that Ukraine is working to develop a public system. The majority of private and state media are also represented on the Internet, she explained.

SUSI scholar Bogdana Nosova presents a lecture that is streamed live through OU distance learning, and is available online.

There are about 200,000 registered print publications in Ukraine, with about 80 percent privately owned and about 9 percent belonging to the state. Some are printed in Russian, some in Ukrainian, and some in both. Nosova said that Russia often has a strong influence on Ukraine’s print media, and explained that many print publications experience financial difficulties.

Multiple radio stations broadcast in Ukraine, including three national, 10 regional and 25 state regional channels. Most of those channels focus on music, entertainment and short news, and some of them broadcast in up to five different languages. According to Nosova, the amount of private stations is steadily increasing.

Nosova said that there are about 800 TV broadcasters in Ukraine, but that three national stations are much bigger than the rest. Prior to a 1996 law, she explained that there were few TV advertisements. Now, though they are still not allowed to air during news broadcasts, they are allowed at other times. Profits from those advertisements help to fund news production.

Nosova herself has a TV program about international politics, which allows her to choose the topics she wants to discuss. She said that, because the program focuses on international matters, she does not usually invite Ukrainian political leaders to speak during her show.

There are 99 news agencies in Ukraine, some central and others regional. About five state media institutions work to regulate the media, and four large, nongovernmental media organizations are very active in training and dealing with legal issues for journalists. The latter are typically financed by international grants.

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