Demand that the New York Times report accurately on the conflict in Artsakh
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On September 27, Azerbaijan, with military support from Turkey, launched a full-scale offensive against Armenians in the Republic of Artsakh (known internationally as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic). While Azerbaijan triples Armenia in every relevant statistic, from the size of its armed forces to its military spending to its oil-swelled GDP, and is run by a corrupt and autocratic government, the New York Times has pursued an alarming campaign to paint Azerbaijan as the victim of this war. Why is this dangerous? Because last week Genocide Watch, a coalition of more than 75 organizations from around the world, issued a genocide emergency for Armenians in Artsakh. These omissions could not be more grave for a newspaper that brands itself as a bastion of truth.
We demand that the New York Times stop its lopsided and misinformed reporting on the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh. The Times’ coverage has lacked crucial historical context and factual integrity. The paper must either immediately improve the quality of its reporting or stand complicit in another genocide against the Armenian people.
1. That Istanbul Bureau Chief Carlotta Gall immediately stop reporting on the conflict in Artsakh. Ms. Gall’s articles have been the centerpiece of the paper’s coverage, but she is in no position to present a full picture. With headlines that focus on the Azerbaijani narrative, she has completely ignored the plight of Armenians. The fact that she is based in Turkey, a country notorious for its suppression of press freedom, a country that to this day denies carrying out the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and the aforementioned backer of the Azerbaijani military, presents a conflict of interest that renders fair reporting all but impossible.
2. That the New York Times clearly state the autocratic nature of Azerbaijan’s government in contextualizing all statements made by its officials. This is evidenced by its refusal to release data on military casualties (making it impossible to accurately assess the war’s human toll). According to Reporters without Borders, out of 180 countries, Azerbaijan ranks 168 on the World Press Freedom Index, on par with North Korea. Armenia ranks 61, on par with the United States.
3. That the New York Times include the following factual information in its reporting:
- Armenians have been indigenous to Artsakh since ancient times. Greek historian Strabo confirms the presence of Armenian-speaking peoples in Artsakh in the second century BC.
- In 1921, Joseph Stalin carved out Artsakh as an autonomous oblast within the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. While the population of Artsakh has always been majority Armenian, the international community still abides by these Soviet-drawn borders.
- The Armenians of Artsakh declared their independence from the Soviet Union on September 2, 1991 using the same legal process as all the former Soviet republics. Azerbaijan declared its independence on October 18, 1991. Thus, Artsakh has never been part of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
For more information, read the Armenian General Benevolent Union's (AGBU) open letter to the New York Times.
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