The Azerbaijan Media Development Agency has organized an international media forum in Shushi titled “New Media in the Era of the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
More than 250 participants from 50 countries, representatives of 120 mass media and media organizations have arrived at the Fizuli International Airport to participate in the event. The photos of their arrival are widely distributed by Azerbaijani propaganda outlets.
Unfortunately, it should be noted that the above mentioned delegation also includes representatives of quite reputable media and journalistic organizations, some of whom have been long-time partners of both the Union of Journalists of Armenia as well as various Armenian media organizations.
The media forum held in Shushi is apparently just one part of a big political-propaganda plan of Azerbaijan, with the participation of many of our partners indirectly legitimizing the blockade of Artsakh by that country for more than 7 months, which has led to a terrible humanitarian crisis and threatens to take new human lives every hour.
Dear colleagues, you are currently in a country, iAzerbaijan, which has occupied the territories of Artsakh, including Shushi, where you are going to hold a forum, and has done so by conducting genocidal policies, war and other crimes against humanity, and is now starving to death 120,000 Artsakh citizens.
The participation of prominent journalists and press representatives in that event cannot be fitted in any way within the framework of professional and human ethics, because it is taking place only a few kilometers away from a location, where
- 120,000 citizens are deprived of their most important rights.
- 120,000 citizens live under constant threats and aggression from Azerbaijan.
- 120,000 citizens live under the risk of being deprived of their homeland, their relatives, friends, and their homes.
- 120,000 citizens live without medicine, fuel, food, patients are in critical condition.
- 30,000 children are condemned to starvation.
- A humanitarian disaster, as a result of which pregnant women faint due to malnutrition and have problems during childbirth. A week ago they somehow managed to save the life of the mother in labor, unfortunately the child died;
- A disaster because of which, just yesterday, a father of a large family died (only 45 years old) in the village of Haterk in Artsakh, which has been surrounded by Azerbaijan;
- A disaster that has left thousands of elderly people helpless, with the first victim reported, again this week, suddenly dying of malnutrition while in the queue for bread.
- A disaster, because of which the rate of early fetal loss has increased almost 3 times in Artsakh;
- A disaster because of which anemia develops in pregnant women due to malnutrition, which also leads to premature birth, the rate of which has already reached 12 percent;
- A disaster, because of which the mother went to find food for her children and returned, finding the children dead…
These cases are just a very small part of the national tragedy in which 120,000 people, 120,000 free citizens with names, surnames, destiny and dreams have been living for more than 7 months, who are condemned to a slow death by the country that has organized the media forum.
Newborn babies die in Artsakh, pregnant women faint from malnutrition, children die, shops no longer even sell bread, and you, journalists, whose mission is to protect human rights, instead of fulfilling your main mission, are holding a forum in Shushi, which is only a few kilometers away from the starving capital Stepanakert.
Azerbaijan is doing all this by brazenly isolating Artsakh from the outside world and away from the eyes of the world.
These and hundreds of other similar human stories shall be the subject of tremendous journalistic investigations and reports. But more than 250 journalists preferred to enjoy the unworldly nature of Armenian Shushi, having the all-powerful comfort created thanks to Azerbaijani oil and petrodollars and having the history of ethnic cleansing in the 21st century in front of their eyes, they prefer to remain silent and participate in an event during which speeches will certainly not be heard about how one of the countries of the world is subjecting an entire nation to ethnic cleansing and genocide in “The Era of the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
Many media representatives, who were addressed by the Union of Journalists of Armenia last week’s call-appeal to the media and media organizations of the world to raise their voice for the salvation of Artsakh Armenians convicted of ethnic cleansing and genocide, have attended the Shushi forum.
Unfortunately, for a week now, we have heard only the silence from our civilized, democratic, humane colleagues, which sounds much more terrible from the halls of the Azerbaijani staged propaganda and organized with their participation in Shushi.
The president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev keeps the media away from the region, and you are not aware of what is really happening here. maybe if you get informed, you will be truly committed to your mission.
We express our bewilderment that you, dear colleagues, are participating in a media forum in a country whose president suppresses the free press, where there is no free speech at all, whose opposition journalists have either not lived in Azerbaijan for a long time, fled, or are detained in prisons, or subjugated. Are you not aware of that? Open the international reports, which have many examples. And under these conditions, you hold a media forum on World Press Freedom Day, when Azerbaijan itself is a symbol of violation of the press freedom.
The Union of Journalists of Armenia calls on all its colleagues, representatives of partner journalistic organizations, to act as real journalists at the forum organized in Shushi, to ask its organizers questions not only about the press of the future, but also, first of all, about the citizens, children, elderly, and people in general who were sentenced to death by them. Who should the media serve if not humans, even the cutting-edge new media?
Journalists have a universal function to protect human rights and should be committed to it if you have no other interests and profit.
The participation of our colleagues in that event can be understood only if they, as professional journalists, use this opportunity to fulfill their professional duty and present to the world how the country they were invited by, kills an entire nation every day: pregnant women, elderly, children, including infants, and call for the immediate opening of the road to life in Artsakh.
Attached are photos confirming what was said above, the rest, we are sure, you will find yourself if you would like to.
Union of Journalists of Armenia