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American Investigative Journalist: “Never Give up while Searching Information and Don’t Take the “No” Answer”

The investigative journalism plays a crucial role in the journalistic field. The information technologies create great facilities for the development of this aspect of journalism. Particularly, investigative journalism has a great significance for each society in terms of covering key issues and problems and trying to offer suggestions to them. had an interview with David Bloss, an American investigative journalist on the problems that investigative journalists face, the most important tips for the beginners in this field, etc. Bloss is the South Caucasus regional editor of the “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting” Project in Georgia and lecturer at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA).

In your opinion, what kind of obstacles do the investigative journalists face in the South Caucasus region comparing to the West?

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OGP Initiative: Participation Process of Armenia is Uncertain

In the 21st century the unprecedented development of informational technologies creates new possibilities in different spheres among them the state government system.

Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative which Armenia is involved in since 2011, is a governance system using information technologies, which aims to make the Government open, transparent, accountable and reliable for the citizens with active participation of civil society. 64 countries joined the initiative. 

As for Armenia, however, currently the destiny of 2014-2016 OGP/Armenia Action plan is obscure.   

The point is that as a result of a change of the Armenian Government staff in April-May of this year, a number of officials who were used to coordinate the OGP/Armenia initiative, today are actually relieved of duties, of course according to their own applications.

The newly appointed officials of the Government do not yet hurry to publicly present any position on OGP.

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The Internet at Crossroad of Freedom of Speech and Restrictions

Life in Armenia is no longer possible to imagine without the Internet. Particularly, in such developing countries as Armenia, the Internet freedom has another important significance besides communication and data exchange. 

The Internet is a free platform with wide facilities for political actors and civil society activists. The strongly polarized TV companies and the disproportionate coverage of the events unpleasant for the authorities led to a situation that nowadays the Internet is utilized as an alternative means to report information, to advance discussions or to promptly join around different issues.  

Compared to other countries, in Armenia there are no or few restrictions regarding freedom of information on the Internet. According to specialists, at this moment there are no threats from the legal point of view as well, though recently there have been active initiatives to somehow intervene, but they hope that they will fail getting no legal effect.

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No one is For: Editors against the Bill Related to Online Media

On March 31, during the parliamentary hearings on the bill related to “Amendments to the Civil Code”, at the discussion phase of the issue, co-author of the bill, MP Naira Zohrabyan declared that journalists have made a request of such an amendment to the law though mentioning no certain names.

“As an ex-journalist, I was turned to by very respectful journalists (I think if they are here they will tell about it, I will not mention their names) who requested us, MPs, on the necessity to regulate this field,” MP Zohrabyan said.  

But neither at the hearings nor after anyone of the journalists or media representatives expressed positively about the bill. And MP Zohrabyan keeps on mentioning no names.

Anyway, MPs of the current session of the National Assembly had a positive experience of cooperation with the media last year. Heads of a number of print and online media outlets have applied to MPs, among them Arpi Hovhannisyan, author of this bill, to legally regulate copyright protection in the Internet. The MPs developed the bill taking into account proposals from the media outlets and made additions to the law “On copyright and related rights” in an expedited procedure by a vote of 110 to 0, with 0 abstention.

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Tracing Cybercrime

In Armenia very few people are aware of the definition of cyber security. As a term it is more often used as information security. However the importance of the latter is not so much realized among the society of Armenia as it is done in the West. The same concerns the term “cybercrime”. While in the recent years the number of cybercrimes in the world grows every day.

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report’s annual survey conducted in 24 countries, 18 adult users of the Internet become victims of cybercrime every second. For example, according to the data of 2012, individuals suffered losses of $113 billion USD from the cybercrimes in the world, and losses of $110 billion USD in 2011.

In cyberspace (е-environment where online communication and electronic data exchange is implemented) harms were caused by financial fraud and theft from online systems, disappearance of data and their usage for other purposes (usually from the accounts of social networks or e-mails), etc. According to the same source, the average loss caused by cyber attacks was $300 USD per user in 2013.

Cybercrime is a type of crime against computer information security which is committed via computer devices to plunder information, disseminate viruses, as well as to spread and save children’s pornography through a computer.

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Armenology: The Way of Life for Iranian

41-year-old armenologist Mohammad Malek-Mohammadi is teaching Armenian students Persian more than two years. He came to Armenia from the city Esfahan in Islamic Republic of Iran on the basis of interstates agreements and lives in Yerevan with his wife and daughter.

Mohammad learned Armenian in both countries in Iran and in Armenia. But Master’s and PhD Associate Professor’s degree he has got in Armenia studying in Yerevan State University.

“My hometown has been the state Chalmahal. In accursed times Armenians moved Persia and lived mostly in Chalmahal. From my childhood I’ve been interested in Armenians, in their life, I’ve read fairtales in which some parts were about Armenians. And finally I chose armenology as the way of my life”, says Mohammad.

Now he is teaching Persian in Yerevan State Linguistic University after V. Brusov and in Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University. He has about 300 students who are studying Persian as the second and the third language.

Mohammad mentions that, unfortunately, nowadays many youngsters are not interested in science.

“It depends on students. If they study hard they can become good specialists having their investment in Armenian-Persian relationships”, says Iranian armenologist.

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Getty Grants Open to Photojournalists

Photojournalists looking to pursue projects of personal and journalistic significance can apply for a grant.

The Grants for Editorial Photography, sponsored by Getty Images, support compelling social, political and cultural stories. A total of five grants of US$10,000 will be provided.

Both professional and student photojournalists are encouraged to apply. There is also an opportunity for young photographers to receive mentoring and support through the emerging talent award. Applicants must be under the age of 25 or currently enrolled in a full-time photojournalism program.

Applications will be accepted beginning April 1, and will require a 500-word summary of the project proposal, a short bio, and 20-25 images. Specific uploading instructions will be made available when the application portal is opened on April 1.

The deadline is May 1.

For more information, click here. 


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