Introducing the Mirror’s Partner in NKR: Artsakh Public TV Company

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By Haykaram Nahapetyan

Mirror-Spectator Video Correspondent

STEPANAKERT – Back in 1988 one of the first gains of the Nagorno Karabakh people’s movement against Soviet Azerbaijan’s repressive rule was the establishment of Nagorno Karabakh’s TV channel. Soviet Azerbaijan did not allow autonomous Armenian Karabakh, which had been placed under Azeri rule by Bolshevik dictator Stalin’s decision of 1923, to have its own TV during many decades of Soviet era. NKAO Armenians had to watch Azerbaijani TV’s programs instead.

In the summer of 1988, the freedom-loving people of Artsakh founded their own TV channel. Today Artsakh’s Public TV company (the station got her new official name in 2003, after the law on TV was adopted) continues to function in Stepanakert as a voice of the independent Nagorno Karabakh Republic. The author visited his Artsakhtsi colleagues during the most recent trip to Stepanakert.

“We have received new equipment this year,” Samvel Balayan, the director of the news programs said while he was touring us around Artsakh TV. “The Hayastan All Armenia fund assisted us in arranging the shipping of the HD quality cameras last February,” he continued.

Despite some technical advances, the TV station has a way to go. The same studio serves as a venue for almost all TV programs and shows. Apart from news programs our colleagues routinely prepare programs for children called “Moush-moushik,” educational-cognitive shows (“After Working Hours,” “We”) and many others. “Shushi” is a special project dedicated to Artsakh’s spiritual and historic capital: town of Shushi. “Mam.info” is for young mothers; “Family” for Artsakhsi families.

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“Or” [Day] is the main informational program of Artsakh TV. Six journalists work to prepare the daily news programs. Artsakh TV broadcasts four hour every day. The rest of the time it rebroadcasts Armenia’s H1 Public TV’s programs. “We are preparing to switch to 12-hour-long local broadcasts,” Balayan added.

Artsakh’s Public Radio is based in the same building. It airs five hours a day filling the rest of the broadcast time with the programs of their colleagues from Yerevan’s public radio channel. “We mainly do news programs,” Ara Vanyan, the newly appointed editor-in-chief of the radio company said.

Arsen Arstamyan, the recently elected member of the TV and Radio Public Council, says Artsakh’s media outlets, apart from satisfying the demands of the domestic audience, carry out other important tasks. In particular, he means the advancement of the international recognition of Artsakh. “We have to be able to show to the international community the level of the democratic achievements of our country. So, the world will be able to compare and see the democracy of the Artsakh Republic and the absence of it in the neighboring and belligerent Azerbaijani Republic,” Arstamyan says.

Earlier this year, Artsakh TV and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator became partners. News reports from Nagorno-Karabakh often appear on Mirror’s YouTube channel with English subtitles.

“This is a very important and overdue cooperation. It makes our programs available to English-speaking viewers. We will spare no efforts to increase the level of our cooperation with the  Armenian Mirror-Spectator,” Arstamyan said.

Artsakh TV’s programs are accessible online.

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