March 4 2010

Elchin Shikhlinski News.Az interviews Elchin Shikhlinski, chairman
of the Journalists' Union of Azerbaijan and editor-in-chief of the
Zerkalo newspaper.

What are the differences and similarities between the Armenian and
Azerbaijani mass media?

There are more similarities than differences between the mass media
of Azerbaijan and Armenia. I think this is because our people lived
within a single state called the USSR for more than 70 years. This
impacts the work of journalists - both Azerbaijan and Armenia as well
as a number of other former USSR countries have common problems in
acquiring information, expressing liberal ideas and freedom of speech.

The difference between our journalists and Armenian journalists lies
in views on the reasons, implications and ways of a just resolution
of the Karabakh conflict and the assessment of the 1915 events in
Ottoman Turkey. No other special differences can be seen between
Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists.

Does this mean that the Azerbaijani and Armenian people are close in
terms of lifestyle, traditions, culture and so on?

The similarity of Azerbaijani and Armenian journalism at present is
most likely caused not by closeness in outlook, traditions, culture
and so on but by the fact that we share the same profession. However,
there certainly are plenty of similarities between Azerbaijanis
and Armenians.

Does this explain why when they are outside Azerbaijan and Armenia,
our people make friends and families and set up businesses together?

I would like to remember an episode from my own life during
service in the Soviet Army in the German Democratic Republic. In
the military unit in this now defunct state, all the Caucasians,
primarily Azerbaijanis, Armenians and Georgians, called each other
compatriots, were close, shared whatever they had and even fought
together against representatives of other ethnic groups living in the
former USSR. I think this is because both our people live in the same
region, are close in temperament, traditions and views of life. All
these similarities and not differences between our countries lead to
friendship between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in third countries.

And finally, is there hope that our peoples will be able get over
their losses during the Karabakh conflict and live in peace and

I think there is hope. Moreover, if the representatives of different
superpowers that pursue their mercantile and pragmatic goals stop
interfering in relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, our people
will find a common language quickly and settle all the problems
between them, which will ensure their peaceful coexistence.

Akper Hasanov News.Az