Monday, September 6, 2010

Hearing more than one, and different, stories

Hearing novelist Chimamanda Adichie's TED talk about “The danger of a single story,” I was reminded of media reports on Armenia and Azerbaijan. Too often, we hear (and read) the same nationalist rhetoric that is conveyed to us by biased media coverage from both sides.

And it’s not just hearing one story, but hearing the same story that is dangerous. A friend of mine in Canada recently reminded me of local activist work, which seems to involve organizing the same events and highlighting the same causes, of course through the same Eurocentric, Western lens and I have to agree with her: it’s tiring to see people with good intentions doing what was already done before and not actually making any strides forward.

So how do we move forward?

Well, for one thing, we understand that no single story can define a nation, a culture, a sect or any other myriad of all those aspects of our identity. It is important to read, hear, watch many stories, and when we think we have a complete picture of that nation/culture/people, we watch, hear and read again, and again, and again. Because I don’t believe that’s possible to ever have a complete picture of a nation/culture/people.

That’s why I’m excited about the Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s unbiased e-media coverage in Armenia and Azerbaijan project. According to the EPF Armenia website, the project aims to contribute to accurate and unbiased reporting of the bilateral relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, especially in the online media and blogosphere.

As someone who works in online news media, I’m glad that more attention is being paid to this not-so-new field, and specifically in the area of unbiased media reporting between these two South Caucasus states.

Now here’s hoping the proposals they’ve received take into account reporting on more than one story... ;)

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