Thursday, December 15, 2005

A1+ Yerevan, Armenia

Making the final cuts to an A1+ news package

The fog, that engulfed Yerevan airport for ten days just before Christmas 2005, finally lifted, although the air quality remained poor with grey skies and clouds of industrial pollution hanging over the city. There was also tension in the air following the referendum that many felt wasn't fair and open.

A1+, the TV station I was helping, had been taken off the air three years ago. They have print, radio and Internet outlets to continue to service, but, in TV terms, all they were able to do at the time of my visit was continue to create TV packages and bus them out to their affiliates dotted around the country's eleven regions.

One such journey involved a five-hour trip by taxi-bus to the south of the country and a broadcasting partner in the mountainous region of Syunik Marz, on the border with Iran.

News packages are taken by taxi bus to regional broadcasters

A1+ is taking the Government of Armenia to the European Court of Human Rights. You can read more about this on BBC News Online.

The visit was arranged by Press Now, a new media development organisation for me, but one I was impressed with in terms of their organisation and focus.

I was impressed by the A1+ team, especially their CEO, Mesrop Movsesyan. He is a man with a clear vision of the importance of a strong, independent media for the country. My translator, Lousineh - a writer on the A1+ site - was ever present and tireless in ensuring I had all the help I needed. Great people, well worth helping.

The website relaunched in February 2006.

Client: A1+
Media Development Organisation: Press Now