Internews addresses Armenia’s media challenges with a comprehensive 5-year media program

Internews in Armenia is bringing together leading local and international media NGOs around a five-year media program that aims to support free and independent media and strengthen the integrity of the information space in Armenia.

Internews in Armenia, the Zinc Network and local long-serving media NGOs Media Initiatives Center and the Yerevan Press Club will implement the program, which is funded by USAID.

“Internews is excited to start a comprehensive media assistance project in Armenia and support an array of actions for a more viable media, developed critical thinking and advanced regulations meant to benefit the entire society,” states Corina Cepoi, the Media Program in Armenia’s Chief of Party.

Armenian media face multiple challenges in an information environment characterized by propaganda, manipulation, and polarization. Media in the country struggle to produce quality content on a consistent basis, uphold editorial standards, and reach audience segments such as youth and other underserved audiences. Financially viable media outlets are rare in the country, which is a significant threat to the lasting sustainability of these independent media outlets.

Through its innovative approach, the program will enhance journalistic standards, catalyze the financial viability of public interest media, and foster the enabling environment for a society protected from disinformation.

“This program builds on a series of past USAID-funded initiatives that have played an instrumental role not only in bolstering independent media in Armenia, but also in building vital media literacy skills. I am pleased to note, on behalf of the American people, this program estimated at $15M is USAID’s largest investment in the Armenian media space to date,” said USAID Armenia Mission Director John Allelo in his opening remarks at the program launch event.

In coordination with potential stakeholders, the program will establish a Media Support Fund with the aim to develop it into an independent, trusted, and transparently governed initiative.

“We will be working directly with Armenia’s media actors, including journalists, editors, media managers, and alternative content creators. Thanks to the partnerships with policymakers, the private sector, and civil society actors, we aim to achieve improvements in legal and regulatory frameworks and build public resilience towards disinformation and malign information sources,” states Corina Cepoi.

Research and studies analyzing the media and information ecosystem in the country, media consumption habits, and the organizational capacity of media outlets will form the basis for planning and implementing the initiatives within the program. Research findings will also inform the provision of assistance to Armenian media outlets, including financial, capacity building, and other support.