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Skopje, Macedonia Presentation



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Presentation on the role of new and social media in conflict resolution and transformation in the South Caucasus

Skopje, Macedonia Presentation

  1. 1. Onnik Krikorian Caucasus Regional Editor, Global Voices Online [email_address] E-society I Media Skopje, Macedonia, 2 December 2009
  2. 2. New Media in the S. Caucasus <ul><li>Armenia February 2008 presidential election 10 dead, State of Emergency declared Internet slowest and most expensive, penetration lowest in region Politically polarized blogosphere
  3. 3. Georgia August war with Russia Still most activity on forums, now focus on new media Significant development anticipated in 2010
  4. 4. Azerbaijan Foreign radio stations taken off the air January 2009 Reported huge increase in online activity, especially blogs Internet penetration reportedly highest in region </li></ul>
  5. 5. Blogs: the new Samizdat?
  6. 6. Russia-Georgia War
  7. 7. Bloggers imprisoned
  8. 8. Digital media and conflict Throughout history, war has affected media, with conflict often creating an information void. In the 21st century, media has begun to affect war more than ever before. Digital media technologies [...] have increased communication and information dissemination in conflict settings [...]. These new tools can be used to foment violence or to foster peace , and it is possible to build communication systems that encourage dialogue and nonviolent political solutions. Ivan Sigal, Digital media in conflict-prone societies, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)
  9. 9. Nagorno Karabakh <ul><li>1994 ceasefire
  10. 10. Approx 25,000 dead
  11. 11. Approx 1 million refugees and IDPs
  12. 12. 14-16 percent of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian forces
  13. 13. Border skirmishes and clashes
  14. 14. Territorial integrity vs. Right to self-determination
  15. 15. Peace deal still elusive
  16. 16. Threat of new war </li></ul>
  17. 17. Stereotyping the 'enemy' Nowhere in the world can you find two groups of people closer to each other. That is why we often have these stupid disputes between Armenians and Azeris. &quot;This house is Armenian&quot; or &quot;this house is Azeri.&quot; Or &quot;this music is Armenian or Azeri.&quot; This is exactly because the two have so much in common. [...] I normally say, and people don't like this, that Armenians are just Christian Azeris and Azeris are just Muslim Armenians . That is how much they are alike. Azeri journalist , Re-arming the Caucasus, Al Jazeera English
  18. 18. Media & Civil Society <ul><li>Media practices self-censorship
  19. 19. Media perpetuates negative stereotypes of the 'enemy'
  20. 20. Civil society largely impotent, arguably insincere or closed
  21. 21. Mistaken notion that Armenians and Azeris are ethnically incompatible put into widespread circulation
  22. 22. Communicating with the 'enemy' discouraged
  23. 23. Opposition and government in Armenia, and government in Azerbaijan, exploit Nagorno Karabakh conflict for short-term domestic political gain </li></ul>
  24. 24. Internet & New Media <ul><li>Growth in Internet penetration and mobile Internet
  25. 25. Emergence of progressive youth movements in Azerbaijan as well as online opposition voices in Armenia, and alternative voices in Georgia
  26. 26. Unprecedented use of new and social media tools to circumvent government control of the media in Azerbaijan, but also in Armenia
  27. 27. Possible focus on civil society use of new/social media in Georgia during 2010
  28. 28. $4 million USAID in Armenia over the next four years </li></ul>
  29. 29. Bar Camp Caucasus
  30. 30. Crossing the ceasefire line <ul><li>Facebook, MSN
  31. 31. Blogs such as Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines
  32. 32. Global Voices Online
  33. 33. Skype for secure communication
  34. 34. Skype for interviews
  35. 35. Video blogging in Azerbaijan </li></ul>
  36. 36. Catalyst for change <ul><li>Arrest, detention and eventual imprisonment of Azeri video blogging youth activists, Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli
  37. 37. Increased use of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs
  38. 38. Coverage on Global Voices Online
  39. 39. Discovery of existing, but unknown, Armenian-Azeri online/offline relationships and networks </li></ul>
  40. 40. Twitter Contact
  41. 41. Potential <ul><li>Viral nature of online, social media spreads
  42. 42. Civil Society asks for contacts for its conflict resolution, simulation, transformation programs
  43. 43. Cooperation in Georgia and other third countries
  44. 44. Increased communication and networking </li></ul>
  45. 45.
  46. 46. Holistic approach I think you can’t do it just with social media tools, but as we’ve seen over the past 15 years, you definitely can’t do it by meeting in Tbilisi for a weekend every summer. It becomes an “entertainment” and I’ve had experience with those conferences in Georgia where it’s just one big coffee break and a waste of money. However, I think that both approaches combined could propel things along . Micael Bogar , Projects Manager at the American University's Center for Social Media
  47. 47.
  48. 48. What next? I would very much like to see more debate among bloggers in Armenia and Azerbaijan . We really need some kind of initiative for this because I would really like to see borders opened and conflict resolved. My mother says that when she went to school she had Armenians among her friends. I would very much like myself or my children when they grow up to be able to say the same kind of thing to their children. Arzu Geybullayeva, Regional Analyst European Stability Initiative (ESI), Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines
  49. 49. Words of caution New media tools will certainly help in getting people better acquainted with each other, but at the same time can also be used to reaffirm existing biases. Just search on the Internet for Armenian and Azerbaijani web sites and you can find a lot of trash and very harmful discourse from nationalist websites. I’m mildly optimistic, but at the same time think we should be very cautious about what we find on the Internet as well. Bart Woord , International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Secretary General
  50. 50. Shameless Plugs <ul><li>Digital media in conflict-prone societies
  51. 51. A web of Peace
  52. 52. Global Voices Online Caucasus
  53. 53. Cultural Diversity in the South Caucasus
  54. 54. Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines
  55. 55. DOTCOM </li></ul>
  56. 56.