« back to Onnik Krikorian in Armenia home


BBC Azeri: Social media and Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict transformation

| 3


When Arzu Geybullayeva and I first started to use blogs and social networking sites to connect a growing number of liberal, tolerant and progressive Armenians and Azerbaijanis despite the still unresolved conflict between the two countries over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, I don't think we ever could have imagined where it would lead.

Not only did it result in a collaborative report on an ethnic Azeri village in Georgia in September, as well as further reporting in December, but we'll also be co-presenting on this use of social media in conflict transformation in Tbilisi, Georgia, early next month.

The work so far has also caught the attention of some major media outlets, as well as international organizations and diplomatic missions, and this week came another in the form of BBC Azeri. For three days both of us wrote on the use of social media in the context of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and I was also interviewed by phone.

The Internet has brought big changes to the lives of people starting from personal relations to business contacts. New media has opened up a new way not only for journalists. It has also inspired an audience and civil society towards free thought and social activism.

The wide use of social media has changed cultural and political values throughout the world. People are willing to communicate, participate and share their thoughts.


What opportunity does social media offer to peace activists from Armenia and Azerbaijan? Can new media tools change the current situation? What are the negative effects of social media in the light of nationalists using new media for an attack on the “enemy”?

Answers to these questions will be given by diarists writing on “Social media and conflict resolution” - Arzu Qeybullayeva from Azerbaijan and Onnik Krikorian from Armenia.

The material was published in Azerbaijani, but English versions are now available on Global Voices Online on the following links:

Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary Part   I » link
Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary Part  II » link
Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary Part III » link




Incidentally, Arzu and I will also be doing some more collaborative reporting, including audio slideshows, on ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijani coexistence in Georgia while we're there, so if you're interested in any materials for publication please don't hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, check out the project so far at  http://oneworld.am/diversity/ , including a ground-breaking audio interview between Yerevan and Baku via Skype.


shantagizoum | March 27, 2010 12:51 PM | Reply

Dear Onnik,
No hard feelings or offense meant in these few lines.
But recall having read about your Twitter or Face book or whatever, your above posts, re connecting with one-reeat ONE person in the Ocean of Azerbaiajn-a pebble in the ocean...
i regret to inform you that it is insignificant and like the Armenian saying goes with one Flower spring will not come..
keep it up ,wo kows may be it will come...
Nonetheless tr to keep abreast of the real develpments day by day on the
Armenian Turcdo-Azeri mainstream CONTACTS...that is were history is made Mr. Erdogan's OUTBURST a week ago and then some...
Hillary flies to Moscow,as wy?
On RT the RRRRRusians showed theri recently developed missile that has a speed of 3 times speed of sound...
These are just a couple examples.
Then Pres. of Armeia begins to let loose his new Approach to the Armenoa turkis relations etc.,
Keep it up ...
All the best to you...

Onnik Krikorian | March 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Reply


Actually, it's not just one person. Just so happens that Arzu is the only one writing with me on this. Besides, in Georgia (and also Russia), ethnic Armenians and Azeris actually co-exist with each other very well. Indeed, in Georgia they even coinhabit the same villages and towns. The Armenians speak Azerbaijani and the Azeris speak Armenian.

What is the issue is the role of the media and government in Armenia and Azerbaijan promoting differences rather than similarities, and the image of the "enemy." What is the problem is that the louder minority nationalist voices drown out the moderate ones.

Don't get me wrong, there is still a long way to go, but in the past year I've met with scores of young, liberal and progressive Azerbaijanis. Actually, it's been quite refreshing, especially when you see them connect with dozens of similar people in Armenia.

The problem is that this is not being reported. Here's to that change in terms of proper reporting starting now.

BTW: Thanks for your comment and especially for voicing your opinion in such a way. That's also what we need more of so a proper discussion can take place. :)

Onnik Krikorian | March 29, 2010 10:12 PM | Reply

And on a related note:

Azerbaijan: DOTCOM arrives in Baku

Late last night, American participants of the U.S. State Department sponsored DOTCOM project to bring Armenian, Azerbaijani and American teenagers together to create socially conscious media arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan, ahead of the Social Media for Social Change conference to be held on 9-10 April in Tbilisi, Georgia.


What do you think?