(Washington/Prague--January 7, 2005) The Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian broadcast services of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) are launching a new jointly produced, regional program designed to help bridge the divisions that exist among the several nations living in the South Caucasus.
The 20-minute program will be heard as part of RFE/RL's regular programming every Saturday at 6:00PM (local time) on Georgian State Radio and at 5:15PM and 11:15PM (local time) on Azerbaijan's Teleradio network, and on Sunday evenings at 7:00PM on Armenian State Radio. The broadcasts will be available on RFE/RL's local private affiliates as well as on the Internet and via shortwave and direct-to-home satellite broadcast (see www.rferl.org/listen
for more schedule information).
Every other week, the program will be made up of a live roundtable, moderated from Prague, but conducted either from RFE/RL's studios in Tbilisi, Georgia or via phone with guests located in each of the three capitals -- Tbilisi, Yerevan, Armenia and Baku, Azerbaijan. Programs for those weeks when a roundtable will not be broadcast (including the first broadcast January 8) will be prerecorded by local journalists in Tbilisi, Yerevan and Baku and packaged by RFE/RL editors in Prague. Editorial control of the program will remain with RFE/RL.
According to RFE/RL Associate Director of Broadcasting Nenad Pejic, the topics addressed on the program will "concentrate on the future and on issues that citizens in the region share as common problems," in an effort to counteract the general practice in the Caucasus of using mass media to perpetuate negative images of adversaries and to promote one-dimensional views of the various conflicts that divide the residents of all three countries. "Our aim is to engage communities in a dialogue that will show how much they share rather than repeat how much divides them," Pejic said. As a result, while not shying away from sensitive political issues such as the region's foreign policy orientation, upcoming programs will address such issues of broad concern in all three countries as health care reform, education reform, energy and pipeline policy, and transport and communications issues.
RFE/RL's Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian Services broadcast a combined 12 hours of programming a day to the South Caucasus, produced in Prague and in local bureaus in Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi and transmitted to listeners via satellite, shortwave and AM, FM, UKV and cable signals provided by local affiliate stations. Programming aired by all three services is also available via the Internet, at www.rferl.org
and at the respective service websites: www.armenialiberty.org
, and www.tavisupleba.org