“Journalists’ Eyewitness Accounts on Armed Conflicts: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh” hearing held at European Parliament

A hearing on “Journalists’ Eyewitness Accounts on Armed Conflicts: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh” was held in the European Parliament with the participation of a large number of guests, Members of the European Parliament from different political groups and countries as well as Belgian Members of Brussels Parliament.

The hearing was co-organized by the EU-Armenia Friendship Group in the European Parliament and the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD)  under the patronage of MEP Dr. Eleni Theocharous (EPP, Cyprus). Dr. Theocharous was in Artsakh several times during the war and volunteered in the hospital of Stepanakert as a surgeon.

Dana Mazalova from the Czech Republic, Tsevatana Paskaleva from Bulgaria and Anna Karapetyan from Armenia presented their eyewitness accounts on the liberation war in Nagorno-Karabakh. All these three journalists were on the ground in Artsakh during the different stages of the war, from the days of the armed conflict to the signing of the cease-fire agreement.

Bedo Demirdjian of the European Armenian Federation responsible for public relations and communications opened the hearing and welcomed the participants. Dr. Theocharous reiterated her support for the people of Artsakh and their right for self-determination. Tatoul Markarian, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary stated that not only the negationist policy of the Turkish authorities but also the official policy of Azerbaijan of distorting facts and reality needs to be combated. He spoke highly of the role of journalists on the panel as well as their devotion and the professionalism of their work.

During her brief speech addressed to the European Parliament, Tsvetana Paskaleva emphasized that the aggressive policies of Azerbaijan need to stop since it can unleash another war any time. Ms Paskaleva stated that the people of Artsakh won the war at the expense of high sacrifice and claimed their right to peaceful life. Her speech was followed by the screening of one of her documentaries which started with depicting the turbulent days of the armed conflict and ended with the current peaceful life.

Czech journalist Dana Mazalova focused on the events in Khojaly, on the current misleading propaganda of Azerbaijan, on her interview with the President of Azerbaijan at the time Ayaz Mutalibov as well as on her meetings with Azerbaijani journalist Cengiz Mustafayev. Mazalova also mentioned about the current anti-Armenian and antidemocratic reality of Azerbaijan.

Journalist Anna Karapetyan elaborated on the ceasefire-agreement signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in May 1994 where she was present as a journalist. Ms Karapetyan focused on the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh Republic officially co-signed the cease-fire agreement – something that Azerbaijan tries to hide.

The eyewitness accounts of the three journalists were followed by a question and answer session. The MEPs present expressed their support for Artsakh and the right of its people for self-determination.

Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, emphasized the importance of such hearings. “The European Institutions as well as various European countries need to be informed appropriately about the truth on the conflict in Artsakh. This is essential in order to combat Azerbaijani state propaganda. Today these courageous journalists raised their voice in the center of Europe against caviar diplomacy,” said Kaspar Karampetian.

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