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APRIL (2016) CONFLICT ON AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA ONLINE MEDIA OUTLETS

Aynur Nabili



April (2016) conflict on Azerbaijan and Armenia online media outlets



Aynur Nabili




Supervisor: Katerine Basilaia

 

 
 





Table of contents

Introduction ………………………….…………………………………………..… 3

Literature Review……..………………………………………………………….… 5

Framing conflict in media……………………………………………………….....  6

Source Attribution ………………………….……………………………………… 8

April 2016 fights between Armenia and Azerbaijan……………………………….. 8

Research Questions ……………………………………………………………….. 10

Methodology …………………………………………………………………….... 11

Coding……………………………………………………………………….…….. 12

Operationalization…………………………………………………………………. 13

Findings …………………………………………………………………………… 15

Military frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media………………………………….….…. 16

Responsibility frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media……………………….... 16

Self-justification frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media……………………….….…… 17

Causality frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media………………………..…....… 17

Political frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media…………………………...….... 18

Human-interest frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media……………………….… 18

Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………...…... 22

Limitations………………………………………………….………….……..…….. 24






Introduction

This is the fact that, media begins to work more actively in conflict and war cases. In such cases, public want to get information about every detail of the conflict by media. Current study analyzed how Azerbaijani and Armenian media framed the 2016 April clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which is an important example of how the conflict was presented to the public by two opposite sides' media organizations.  

Mirovalev (Los Angeles Times, 19 April 2016) argued that, news about April 2016 conflict spread faster in online media than traditional media. However, the author mentioned that, sometimes content of this news was different from each other. For instance, Azerbaijani media blamed the Armenian military for the fighting, Armenian side claimed otherwise. Local media organizations from both sides informed about the number of casualties, however different numbers (about losses) were reported by each side. Armenia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Azerbaijan launched the attack using tanks and aircraft on 3 April 2016 around 2 a.m. after firing artillery barrages. Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense claimed that their soldiers and some residential areas near the front were struck by “intensive fire” on 2 April, and that its forces had taken “urgent measures” to respond.

This study aims to explore framing of the April 2016 fights between Azeri and Armenian forces in the coverages of Azerbaijani and Armenian online media.

There are several reasons for choosing this topic. The main reason is that, our research showed that, during and after April (2016) conflict, each country started to blame the other side for the conflict, trying to justify themselves and introduce themselves as victims, in that way affect opinion of audiences and their decisions. During our research, we tried to analyze which frames and sources were mostly used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media outlets. To clarify this issue, we analyzed the content of all news outlets, their sources where local media (in Azerbaijan and Armenian media) get information and aspects, frames that were used by media while covering these issues.

The section of literature review discusses framing theory and provides the background for April 2016 fights. The methodology section uses quantitative content analysis and census sampling to analyze online news coverage of the six news websites and to answer two research questions.

Findings of research indicates differences of aspects while covering conflict news by Azerbaijan and Armenia web sites, their working with sources, framing and balance strategy.

 

Keywords: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, April conflict, conflict, content analysis.









Literature Review

Framing Theory

Gitlin (1980) argues that media frames organize the world both for journalists who report it and for consumers who rely on their reports. Different factors influence how journalists frame issues, including social norms and organizational pressures. Seow & Maslog (2005) found that war and peace journalism is supported by framing theory theoretically. The origins of the framing concept lie in the fields of cognitive psychology and anthropology. Subsequently, it was adopted by other disciplines, often with a shift in meaning, including sociology, economics, linguistics, social-movements research, policy research, communication science, political communication, public relation research, and health communication. (Seow & Maslog, 2005)

Entman (1993) argued that framing ‘‘essentially involves selection and salience. To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text’’. According to McCombs & Ghanem (2003) certain aspects more salient than others in media content leads to different construction of reality. Ultimately, framing has implications for the worldview of those exposed to it. ‘‘The mosaic or gestalt resulting from a frame can predispose the recipient of the framed message toward a particular line of reasoning or outcome’’ (McCombs & Ghanem, 2003).

According to Entman (1993) framing means to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more silent in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, casual interpretation, moral evaluation, or treatment recommendation for the item described. In wartime, the national political and economic elites use framing strategies and their access to the media to communicate their political and military actions to the wider public.  In dominant framing, strategies in post- Cold War conflicts are related to the War on Terror, which includes a demonization of the combatant.

Stomback et al (2005) summarize that, in news media coverage, framing stems from a process of selection, attention, exclusion, and elaboration by the news organization. For instance, in a case of war, the media can select to focus on the destruction of war as opposed to freedom from tyranny, can frame the event as an invasion versus attack, can emphasize the victims versus invaders, and can highlight a positive versus negative attitude toward the war.

Framing conflict in media

Allan and Zelier (2004) considered that war reporting puts the normative foundations of journalism under pressure. One of the most important basic values in Anglo-Saxon journalism is to present all sides of a conflict, to have some kind of neutrality (Kovach and Rosenstiel 2001). This norm is, of course, under heavy pressure from the state and military in times of conflict and war when journalists are supposed to support their “own side” (Robinson2004).

On the other hand, Waisbord (2002) argued that, mass media tend to employ a patriotic framework of reporting and cover events in crises situations that threaten the well-being of their nation.

Stromback et al (2005) analyzed online news media outlets from the countries, which supported war between Iraq and US and those who again this war. They researched what kind of differences exists in coverage of the initial attack in Iraq. Authors result show that there are differences between American and international online media.  Main issue is the lack of discussion of responsibility issues across the U.S. Web publications. In contrast, international media mostly focus on to the discussion and analyzes of issues such as blame and response for the war. Also Stromback et al (2005) found that the elite newspaper in the U.S. was relying on official government and military sources. U.S. news sites focused on details of military action and talking about the equipment used number of soldiers and aircraft, military strategy, and preparation. Stories about soldiers’ families, life on the road to war, and other human-interest stories were also more common for U.S. news sites compared to international online publications.

Allan and Zelizer (2004) considered that in media research, the history of war reporting mostly focuses on the relationship between military/political control over information and professional values of journalistic autonomy. This relationship has evolved and brought the two sides closer through military information strategies, combined with the need in news media for a constant flow of news. The results of this project show that the relationship between journalists and military is only part of the story. The professional culture, patriotism, self-censorship, and political context are also important variables in explaining the actual coverage.

McQuail (2006) claimed that if one media organization wants to cover the war, it should include the information on the causes of the conflict, the course of war, differing political views and the possible aftermath. However, their research has shown that the media rarely fulfill these needs for all-embracing and objective coverage.

For covering five days war between Russia and Georgia Road et al (2013) were coded in both Russian and European media. Authors analyzed two weekly news publications in fourth language (German, France, English, Russian) from different media organizations for analyzing what kind of news published during the five days war. Total 272 Russian and European articles were identified that cover the Georgian War either as a main or as side topic. Authors’ findings show that the media of both Russia and EU mostly frame Georgian war in terms of “new world order”- 28.4 percent of the Russian articles, 33.9 percent European articles contained this frame. Both types of media- online and print media- use three main framings- “new world order”, “reentrance of Russia to world politics” and “return of the Cold War” while covering this issue.



Source attribution

Source attribution is the process by which journalists identify those actors who supply information (Gans, 1979, p80). It also empowers audiences by allowing the reader or the viewer to assess the credibility of a news report (Friendly, 1958) and appraise the motivations of sources.

According to Zaharopolous (2004) ordinary citizens were rarely cited as a main source. Focusing specifically on the media coverage of the2003 Iraq War, Dimitrova (2005) found that the elite newspaper in the U.S. were more likely than the Swedish papers to rely on official government and military sources. Comparing Al Ahramand The New York Times’ pre-war coverage, Ghanem (2005) found that The Times relied more heavily on U.S. sources whereas Al Ahramused more Arabic sources”

Consequently, source attribution in particular, the use of direct quotation are essential to the professional practice of journalism. Sundar (1998) argued that, for showing whole picture about in any case journalist should use from several sources, which is not dependent on one another

This study is analyzing who were the main sources for Azerbaijan and Armenian media during four-day conflict.

April 2016 fights between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Armenia and Azerbaijan conflict began in 1988, when the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh unilaterally declared their independence from Azerbaijan (Waal, 2013). According to Goltz, (2015) at that time, ethnic Armenians comprised about 65 percent of Nagorno-Karabakh. This push by the ethnic Karabakh Armenians to separate from Azerbaijan was instigated by Armenia, which has had territorial claims against Azerbaijan as part of its desire to create a Greater Armenia by expanding its territory (Guluzade, 1998).

Bagirov (2008) argued that Armenian army was provided political and military support by Russia at that time. Since 1993, Armenia has received $1 billion in arms shipments from Russia. These arms, including the most modern Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, SCUD missiles and tons of ammunition, were shipped through Armenia to the site of the conflict inside Azerbaijan.

Guluzade, (1998) mentioned that, a series of Armenian offensives, beginning in 1992 and backed by Russian arms, resulted in the Armenian occupation of almost 20 percent of Azerbaijan territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other districts. As a result, Azerbaijan is left with approximately 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994, leaving Karabakh as well as swathes of Azeri territory around the enclave in Armenian hands.

On 1st of April 2016, conflict erupts between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces again. Armenia’s Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan launched a surprise attack using tanks and aircraft. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense, in turn, blamed the Armenian military for the fighting. It said that its soldiers and some residential areas near the front were struck by “intensive fire” early on April 2, and that its forces had taken “urgent measures” to respond.

According to Kremer (New York Times, 06 April 2016) later Saturday (02 April, 2016) the ministry issued a statement saying it had recaptured “strategic heights” and a village to prevent attacks from those locations on its territory. It implied that Azerbaijan’s forces were moving beyond defensive positions.

Kremer (New York Times, 06 April 2016) argued that, during the four-day war (April, 2016) the Azerbaijani government said that more than 100 Armenian soldiers had been killed on 1stApril and that 6tanks and 15 artillery pieces had been destroyed. It said 12 Azerbaijanis had “become shahids,” meaning they died the death of Muslim martyrs. The Nagorno-Karabakh military said it had shot down one of Azerbaijan’s helicopters, a claim Azerbaijan first denied and then confirmed. An official in Nagorno-Karabakh told Russian news media that 40 to 50 Azerbaijani soldiers had been killed in the fighting. Mirolavev (Los Angeles Times, 19 April, 2016) mentioned that the fighting came close to ending April 5 after a Moscow-brokered cease-fire, officials on both sides said. However, the cease-fire did not hold, and shooting and shelling continue to claim more lives – and raise more political dust.

According to the Institute of War and Peace reporting (12 April, 2017) Nagorno Karabakh has been internationally referred to as a frozen conflict since the war in the early 1990s left a local Armenian administration in control of the enclave of about 150,000 people inside Azerbaijan. Around 30,000 people died before a ceasefire was signed in 1994, but that agreement has frequently been violated.

 

Research Questions

Different media organizations can focus on different issues on the same subject. Current study focuses on frames of web sites. Our question is that: Which tales mainly cover by Azerbaijan and Armenian online media outlets and which frames used by Milli.az, Qafqazinfo.az, Apa.az, A1plus.am, News.am and Panarmenian.net.

In addition, we formulated the following Research Questions:

RQ1: Which frames are used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media for covering four-day conflict?

R.Q 2: Which sources are used by them mostly for covering conflict?

METHODOLOGY

The current study focuses on April (2016) conflict in the coverage of Armenian and Azerbaijan online media outlets. The goal of this study was to examine how media outlets of the sides at conflict (Armenia and Azerbaijan) were covering four-day war  We analyzed the news, which was published between 1-5 April on the following websites: A1plus.am, News.am and Panarmenian.net, Milli.az, Qafqazinfo.az, Apa.az.

The study used quantitative content analysis. Analyze the online news coverage of six news websites and to answer two research questions.

According to Fico et al (2008) content analysis method is a valuable tool for researchers seeking to draw inferences from antecedent or subsequent conditions. On the other hand, Holton et al (2011) argued that content analysis provides a means for examining the values and norms that guide the production of message content in numerous formats, such as print, film and electronic media.

Quantitative content analysis is relevant method for reviewing framing of April conflict (2016) in A1plus.am, News.am and Panarmenian.net, Milli.az, Qafqazinfo.az, Apa.az.

Sample

Six news websites were analyzed for this study. Altogether 880 news reports were selected from April 1, 2016 through April 5, 2016. All news reports about the April conflict were used in all selected six news web sites.

Out of 880 articles 464 articles from Azerbaijan media and 416 article from Armenian side analyzed.

We used 1 April, 2 April, 2 April, 3 April, 4 April, 5 April, Armenian and Azerbaijan conflict, Nagorno Karabakh conflict, conflict, war, Azerbaijan military, Armenian military as our key words for searching process and analyzed each news reports related to April conflict (2016.)

The sample was sorted into 140 online articles from A1plus.az, 152 article from News.am, 124 from Panarmenian.net, 132 from Apa.az, 160 from Milli.az and 172 articles from Qafqazinfo.net. For finding these articles we perform searches in archives in each web site, find news, report about April conflict and analyze their content, frame and source.

All the articles about the April conflict (2016) between Azerbaijan and Armenia were collected in the time frame (April 1 to April 5 2016) except for the articles that mentioned only the event or the country. There had 11 reports in Armenian media which mentioned only the event or the country and 15 reports in Azerbaijan media.  

We examined archives of six web sites. In three web sites (Panarmenian.net, A1plus.az, Apa.az) have calendar option, for reading articles which written in the past.  For analyzing the news reports which written during April conflict we chose 1-5 April 2016 in calendar and were looked through the frames and sources of these articles.

In other three web sites (News.am, Qafqazinfo.az, Milli.az) have not calendar option, that is why we used 1 April, 2 April, 2 April, 3 April, 4 April, 5 April as our key words for searching process and analyzed each news reports related to April conflict (2016.)

 

Coding

The articles, which we coded, were news features, news briefs, hard news, editorial and column news stories, news analysis. Each article was coded for the presence and type of frames as well as the source of the story.

A source of attribution was defined as a name of a person or an organization associated with direct quotes or reported speech in a story. The types of sources of interest in the current work were governmental officials from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh, European officials.

Two dominant frames- Military, Responsibility - were used by six news web sites.  Dominant frames were found to occur more frequently in the longer publications, they were transformed into dichotomous measures after the data were collected.

Operationalization

 

Sources of Attribution. A source of attribution was defined as a name of a person or an organization associated with direct quotes or reported speech in a story. The types of sources examined for this study were the following government officials and leaders: European officials, Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry, Armenian Defense Ministry and politicians, Azerbaijan Defense Ministry and politicians, Russian officials.

The military frame. This frame mostly used war and conflict cases. According to Basilaia et al. (2013) the military frame emphasizes military action, and military confrontation, focusing on the troops, combat, description of the weaponry and technological capabilities of war.

 

Self-justification frame. Gomez and Sanchez (2013) argued that, during the conflict mostly each side try to emphasize self-defense and focus on self-justification frame.

 

Causality frame. According to Basilaia et al. (2013) the causality frame was created by combining two sub-frames. The subframes were prognostic and diagnostic.  Prognostic subframes included speculations of the media on the political, economic, military, and other consequences of the war and its aftermath. Diagnostic subframes emphasized analysis of the underlying causes or actors responsible for the war, and included any content focusing on the political, economic, and military causes of the war. Basilaia et al. (2013).

 

Political frame. In their research, Basilaia et al. (2013) argued that, political frames were composed of three subframes: general political, political. The general political subframes described the issues of conflict resolution, in particular the steps that were to be taken to resolve the conflict, the details of negotiations, official meetings, the ceasefire, and peacekeepers. The attribution of responsibility subframe was manifested in statements by the government and military officials who argued that Georgia, Russia, or the United States was responsible for war in Georgia. The political actors' frame included any discussion of specific political actors.

 

Responsibility frame. Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) found that, this frame is defined as "a way of attributing responsibility for all cause or solution to either the government or to an individual or group". Authors argued that, responsibility frame was most commonly used in serious media organizations. Media used this frame for blaming opposite side as a reason of war.

 

Human-interest frame. According to Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) this frame "brings a human face or an emotional angle to the presentation of an event, issue, or problem" (Semetko & Valkenburg. 2000). Cho and Govver (2006) showed that the human interest frame influenced participants' emotional response.









Chapter IV Findings

 

The first research question asked: Which frames are used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media for covering four-day conflict? The results show that military, responsibility, self-justification, causality, political and human interest frames used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media as well.

In the following table, have shown number and percentage of these frames, which used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media outlets.

 

Table 1.

Number and percentage of six frames, which were used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media, while April conflict (2016)

 

Type of Frames

Military Frames

Responsibility Frames

Self-Justification Frames

Causality Frames

Political Frames

Human-interest Frame

Total

  N

 388

  275

 101

71

 22

 23

880

%

 44.1

 31.2

 11.4

8.0

 2.5

 2.6

100

 

According to our research, military and responsibility frames used more than others in each country’s media coverage.

The research showed that, military frames were dominant while covering April conflict by Armenian media. So that, 50.5 % (210) of the stories from Armenian media contained military frame. Meanwhile, responsibility frame found in 22.3 % (93) stories.

In the case Azeri media, responsibility frame are used as the main aspect for covering above-mentioned conflict. 39.2 % (182) of the stories contained responsibility frame. Meanwhile, military frames were found in 38.3 % (178) stories.

 

In addition, we try to analyze what is the meaning of these frames for Azerbaijan and Armenian web sites which used by them while covering April conflict (2016).

Military frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media: According to our research, by using military frame the media from both countries focused on providing information to the society about the troops, war techniques which were, gave information about the military actions and military confrontation. The research showed that Azerbaijani and Armenian media outlets used the military frame to persuade the audiences that their armies are stronger physically and with their technological capabilities and they will win the conflict. The following is an example from News.am, showing how the Armenian online media used military frame in a news story: “During the military actions, the Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army units destroyed one more tank in the northeastern direction of the contact line, one BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher in the northern direction, and one unmanned aerial vehicle in Martakert direction. In addition, one unit of engineering equipment was destroyed. Karabakh troops are taking necessary measures to suppress the Azeri forces' attacks" (News.am. 03 April 2016).

In addition, this example is from Milli.az showing how the Azeri online media used military frame in a news story: " Armenian Armed Forces have 110 times violated the ceasefire in various directions along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops over the past 24 hours. However Azerbaijani army are taking necessary measures to suppress the Armenian forces' attacks. Six Armenian tanks and 15 artillery pieces were destroyed. while over "100 enemy soldiers were killed and injured"  (Milli.az 04 April 2016)

Responsibility frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media: In April 2016 conflict case, Armenian and Azerbaijan Defense Ministries, Nagorno Karabakh president and Defense Ministry referred to the war or the armed conflict.  However, the European organizations or governmental officials did not use the responsibility frame while talking about the April war. The president of Turkey the Turkish governmental officials and Israeli officials are exception in that case. In their speeches, the Turkish President and the Foreign Minister used responsibility frame saying that the Armenian side is the reason for the conflict, because they occupied Azerbaijani territories and  continue their mission in that way. In addition, the president of Turkey R.T. Erdogan accused OSCE for their “useless performance|” for solving Nogorno Karabakh conflict so far. On the other hand, the Israel officials used responsibility frame in their speeches and argued that Azerbaijan side is responsible for starting the war between the two countries. Here is the example from Apa.az while they are covering speech of Turkey President Erdogan : "The struggle over Nagorno Karabakh, which has been occupied for many years, is a result of the inability of the Minsk Group. If the Minsk Group took fair and decisive steps over this, we wouldn't have seen this incident happening right now," Erdogan said, speaking to the reporters ahead of a grand opening of a Turkish mosque in the Washington D.C. area"  (Apa.az, 03 April 2016)

Self-justification frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media: In April conflict (or war) case, each side’s media organizations focused on self-justification frame and try to persuade audience that opposite side start to violate case-fire firstly, now their current position just defense themselves and protect their border from enemy attack. In their speech, mostly Defense Ministries of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh used this frame. Here is the example from Panarmenian.net while they cover statement of Defense Ministry of Armenia : "Karabakh Defense Army is taking all necessary measures to force Azerbaijan to cease hostilities. Azerbaijan, which has once again initiated irresponsible and senseless adventurism, bears full responsibility for possible consequences. We urge the Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-office to publicly and strongly condemn Azerbaijan for the systematic escalation of the situation, violation of peace and stability in the region," (Panarmenian.net, 02 April, 2016)

 

Causality frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media The April (2016) conflict showed that, mostly European politicians and experts focused on causality frame in their speeches while talking about Armenian and Azerbaijan conflict. Here is the example form Milli.az while they cover Francois Hollande statement: "We was particularly concerned by the reported use of heavy weapons and by the large numbers of casualties, including among the civilian population. We urge all sides to the conflict to take steps to deescalate the situation. There cannot be any alternatives to the negotiated solution. The French republic’s head, who met with the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Paris in October 2014, reaffirms his commitment to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the shortest term possible". (Milli.az, 03 April 2016)

 

Political frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media: In April (2016) conflict case, political frame focused on details of negotiations between two countries, signed regulations about cease-fire, UN resolution related to Nagorno Karabakh, in particular the steps that were to be taken to resolve the conflict, official meetings, which took place until this time. According to our research, one web site mostly focused on political frame for end of each article. While covering the April conflict Panarmenian.net web site used information at the end of each news about the details of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. In this part, we mentioned how and why this conflict started and what is the current situation.

 

Human-interest frame in Armenian and Azerbaijan media: In April (2016) conflict, the media tried to pay attention to the story of victims and witnesses of war for covering harmful sides of an armed conflict. In those cases, the media mostly used injured soldiers in frontline or local citizens of border village as interviewer. There are five reportages (in qafqazinnfo.az and milli.az) with former soldiers and Nagorno Karabakh war veterans who claims that even now they are ready for fighting against the enemy’s return back to the occupied Azerbaijan territories. The main objective of these kinds of stories generate enthusiasm in the society and persuade them to victory.

RQ 2:

The second research question asked which sources are used by the media mostly to cover the conflict?

As shown in Table 2, the most quoted sources for Armenian media outlets are Nagorno Karabakh Defense Ministry, Armenian Defense Ministry, European leaders and political experts.

Similarly, Azerbaijan Defense Ministry, European Leaders and experts are the most quoted sources for Azerbaijani media outlets.

 

Table 2

Most quoted sources in Azeri online media Apa.az, Milli.az and Qafqazinfo.az

Sources

Number of times

Azerbaijan Defense Ministry

211

 European leaders

 159

Political experts

 50

 Correspondent information

 24

  Social media

16









Note: "Number of times" line shows how many times these sources were quoted in Azeri online media.

This table shows that, Azerbaijan Defense Ministry and European leaders most quoted sources for Azeri online media while they were covered April conflict.For Azerbaijani media Azerbaijan Defense Ministry appeared 45% (in 211 reports) of stories and European officials 34.2 % (in 159 reports) of stories are used as main source.

 

Table 3

Most quoted sources in A1plus.am, News.az and Panarmenian.net

Sources

 Number

  Nagorno Karabakh Defense Ministry

 201

European leaders

 134

Armenian Defense Ministry

39

 Political experts

 21

 Correspondent information

13

Social Media

8







Note: "Number of times" line shows how many times these sources were quoted in Armenian online media.

For Armenian media outlets Armenian officials, (we accounted NKR Defense Ministry and Armenian Defense ministry together, because NKR is not recognized as independent country in international arena) appeared 57.6 % (in 201 reports) stories and followed by European officials 32.2 % (in 134 reports). In each case, European officials utilized important sources in all six news web sites.

Political experts were the third major source for media while analyzing conflict. Experts were appeared 10.7 % (in 50 reports) of news stories as source in Azerbaijani media and 5.5 % (in 21 reports) of news about four day war in Armenian media outlets.

While Armenian or Azerbaijan media used local experts as information source there were dominate responsibility and self-justification frame in that news. Experts analyzed current situation from their own perspective and of course, nationality prevent them for explaining situation in a balanced way. Unfortunately, there have not any case in Azerbaijan or Armenian media that they used foreign experts for analyzing current situation.

In addition, the research showed that while Armenian media give information referring Armenian governmental officials - Nagorno Karabakh Ministry of Defense, Nagorno Karabakh President, Armenian Ministry of Defense- they were used military and responsibility frame as well. It means, the main context of such news is based on give information about their strong troop, weaponry and blame opposite side as main reason of conflict. At the same time, while Azerbaijan Defense Ministry, President of Azerbaijan and experts were talking about the conflict, they also used military and responsibility frame and blame Armenian side for current situation.

However, the news where European leaders, governmental officials were used as main sources were focused on causality and political frames.  Mostly mentioned economic, political results of this conflict, ordinary people who lived in border and injured, dead because of the case-fire violation and draw attention peaceful relations between the two countries so far. Moreover, urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to respect and allow international regulations.

Social media also attended as a source for online media during April conflict. In that case, media outlets used officials’ social media shares as source of the news. There are three news in three Armenian media outlets and six news in three Azerbaijan web sites, which based on officials shares (status) on social network. On the other hand, during the conflict media used social media shares (photo, video and information) which were shared by ordinary users. During these days, the residents of frontline villages and witnesses shared photos, videos and the information about clashes at the border, damaged houses and injured people. We analyzed six media outlets, which have English language content. For three Azerbaijan media outlets, there have 38 journalists’ reportages about conflict which 8 of them were video reportages, 10 of them were multimedia journalistic materials (with photo, video and text) 7 of them used text and video where were showing cease-fire violation in border, 9 of them were photo-reportage, 7 of them published just video and 5 of them covered as text with just cover photo.

 

Conclusions

In conclusion, while analyzing two different countries’ media outlets during the April conflict, we get similarities, not differences. Mostly were used similar sources for covering four-day war by all six news outlets. So that, Azerbaijan and Armenian officials and European leaders’ speech about conflict were the main sources for six media organizations.

Findings showed that, while Armenian media used Armenian officials as main source, they mostly try to persuade audience that, there is no reason to be concerned about current situation in the border, because the victory will be with them, at the end of the conflict. For that they focus on give information to society about military capabilities, war techniques, powerful soldiers of Armenian army in their speech. On the other hand, Armenian media sometimes give information about what is written by Azerbaijani media and then add Armenian officials’ opinion about the same issues. For instance, if there are noted by Azerbaijani media that, today as a result of an air attack, Armenian plane was shot down by Azerbaijan army, then Armenian media use Armenian officials as main source for check the fact, learning their opinion. In this case, Armenian officials accuses Azerbaijani media spreading misinformation and urges Armenian readers not to believe in such news which written by Azerbaijani media. Contrariwise, Azerbaijani officials, use same “method” as well. It means, when Azerbaijani media publish news that, Armenian army shot down Azerbaijani plane, or capturedsome territories near the border, in this case, media use Azerbaijani officials as main source, cover their oppinion related to same issues. In such cases, Azerbaijani officials blamed Armenian media spreading misinformation and urged readers not to believe in such news.

During April conflict, political experts, also was chosen by Azerbaijan and Armenian media as source for analyzing current situation. Unfortunately, in this case, nationality prevent to local experts for explaining situation in a balanced way. It would be believable source for readers if media were used foreign experts for analyzing situation. However, while our research, did not see any news reports, article that media used this kind of experts as source.

On the other hand, while analyzing media frames, which were used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media during the conflict, we get similarities in that case, as well. The results showed that military, responsibility, self-justification, causality, political and human-interest frames were used by Azerbaijan and Armenian media. During the April conflict, military and responsibility frames were the dominant frames for the Azerbaijan and Armenian media while covering conflict. While military frame dominant in news, in this case officials focus on giving detailed information to society about positive information related to power of their army. In addition, try to persuade audience that losses of opposite side is two, three times more than theirs.

The news in which responsibility frame were dominant, Armenian and Azerbaijan officials blame opposite side for their aggressive policy and violation of case-fire regulation.  For instance, in his speech, Azerbaijan Defense Ministry used responsibility frame and mentioned that Armenian side is responsible of the conflict, because they occupied Azerbaijan territories and now continue their mission in that way. In turn, Armenian Defense Ministry used responsibility frame in his statement and noted that, throughout history, Nagorno Karabakh was belong to Armenia and now Azerbaijan try to occupy their territories and they are responsible violation of case-fire in the border. Officials from both side, used this frame for persuade local, foreign audience, international authorities that, opposite side is guilty for violation of case-fire in the border and the territory (Nagorno Karabakh) which they fight for it, with each other was owned to them, throughout the history.

As a conclusion, results of the study showed that Azerbaijan and Armenian media outlets mostly used same frames and sources while covering April conflict. For covering the issue in a balanced way, each sides’ media organizations used different sources for news reports.

 

Limitations

As is typical of all research, this study has a number of limitations. First, the results of the present study were based on the online coverage of a limited number of news media. Future studies should include additional news outlets. It is possible to extend the research period and the number of news outlets. Feature scholars can analyze the articles, which were published after the April conflict to see if they use different frames. It will help to show the frame change over time. In addition, future scholars may to study not only online media, at the same time traditional media as a TV, Radio, and Newspaper. This study used quantative analysis of April conflict (2016) on news websites of Azerbaijan and Armenia, however future researches may be use quantative and qualitative together (mix of method).












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