US embassy cable - 06YEREVAN113

ARMENIA: MEDIA REACTION TO AVIAN INFLUENZA DELEGATION PRESS CONFERENCE

Identifier: 06YEREVAN113
Wikileaks: View 06YEREVAN113 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Yerevan
Created: 2006-01-26 13:43:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: OPRC AM KMDR KPAO KFLU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 000113 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/PPD-CFITZGERALD, JBASEDOW, EUR/CACEN-JDEHART, KWITMER 
 
E.O. 12958; N/A 
TAGS: OPRC, AM, KMDR, KPAO, KFLU 
SUBJECT:  ARMENIA: MEDIA REACTION TO AVIAN INFLUENZA 
DELEGATION PRESS CONFERENCE 
 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
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1. On January 25, a U.S. government inter-agency team 
visited Armenia as part of a multi-country trip to learn 
about the region's preparations to address avian influenza. 
During its visit to Armenia, part of the team held a press 
conference at the U.S. Embassy.  Media coverage of the event 
was extensive, with major television stations, newspapers, 
and news agencies reporting on it.  Most outlets quoted 
delegation leader Ann Derse, as well as the Embassy's press 
release, without providing any commentary.  One news agency 
misquoted Derse, alleging that she denied there were any 
cases of bird flu in Armenia, and a tabloid daily implied 
that the threat of avian influenza was being exaggerated. 
Two opposition newspapers focused on the delegation's praise 
for Turkey's efforts to fight avian influenza.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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JUST THE FACTS 
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2. Armenian Second, Public TV, Kentron, ALM, Shant, and 
Yerkir Media television stations showed clips of the 
conference and reported on the Embassy's press release 
without providing analysis.  Television stations focused on 
delegation leader Ann Derse's statement that no cases of 
avian influenza have been found yet in Armenia, as well as 
her comments regarding the assistance that the United States 
will provide to Armenia.  (Note:  Derse went on to say that 
no country was immune to avian influenza and pressed for 
active surveillance and preparation.  End Note.) 
 
3. "Armenia Liberty," RFE/RL's Armenian service, published 
an article that quotes the U.S. Embassy press release and 
focuses on the assistance that the United States will 
provide to Armenia.  The article quotes Derse as stating, 
"The United States is committed to assisting Armenia, and 
just as a result of today's discussions, some immediate 
steps will be taken....Protecting the health of the workers 
who deal with the disease both in the animal and human realm 
is critical.  In this connection, the U.S. will be sending 
to Armenia within 10 days or so 1,500 kits of personal 
protective equipment." 
 
4. Arminfo, an independent news agency, quoted the U.S. 
Embassy's press release at length and included quotes from 
the press conference.  The article states, "Within the 
coming ten days, the U.S. government will provide supplies 
such as personal protective equipment, test primers, and an 
adviser to assist the government in its preparedness and 
response plan in response to government requests.  The best 
protection against the influenza is active preparation, 
detecting and containing avian influenza outbreaks, and 
immediate response, she [Derse] said." 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
NEWS AGENCY SAYS THERE ARE NO CASES OF BIRD FLU IN ARMENIA 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
5. Mediamax, a news agency considered to be somewhat pro- 
government, stated in an article, "There are no cases of 
bird flu in Armenia, the head of the U.S. government inter- 
agency team, Anne Derse, said at a briefing in Yerevan 
today."  (Note:  Derse actually stated, "Cases [of avian 
influenza] have not been found in Armenia yet to my 
understanding."  End Note.) 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
TABLOID REPORTS "EVERYTHING IS FINE" REGARDING BIRD FLU 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
6. "Haykakan Zhamanak," a tabloid daily, published an 
article entitled "Don't Worry Be Happy," which implies that 
the threat of avian influenza is being exaggerated.  The 
article states, "'Presently there is no bird flu in Armenia, 
but an outbreak of it continues to be possible since Armenia 
is located in a risk zone.'  We have heard this for almost a 
month from the mouths of almost every Armenian official.  At 
the press conference held at the new U.S. Embassy building, 
almost the same sentence with only a few differences was 
repeated by American experts who arrived in the 
region...Judging from the calmness of the face of the U.S. 
State Department representative Anne Derse, who is the head 
of a delegation comprised of representatives from different 
government agencies, one can be confident that everything is 
fine regarding bird flu in Armenia." 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
TWO NEWSPAPERS FOCUS ON COMMENTS REGARDING TURKEY 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
7. "Aravot," a pro-opposition daily, published an article 
entitled, "Bird Flu Diplomacy:  U.S. experts did not explore 
the results of their research in Turkey."  The article 
states, "The head of the delegation, Ann Derse, who is a 
diplomat by profession, successfully avoided all questions 
regarding the situation in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, 
and whether the borders of those countries are secure enough 
to ensure that the disease does not enter or exit the 
country...thus displaying 'deep diplomacy.'  Instead, she 
and her 'apostles' clarified that she is 'delighted with the 
preparedness of the Turkish government' and that they 'were 
treated well by the countries of the Caucasus.'" 
 
8. In an article entitled "The U.S. Delegation Ate Poultry 
in Turkey," the opposition newspaper "168 Hours" notes, "Ann 
Derse, the head of the delegation, mentioned that she 
believes that the countries of the region can learn 'good 
lessons' from Turkey.  In this regard, Derse thinks that 
there should be no problems between Turkey and Armenia 
because 'all the countries of the world should cooperate for 
the sake of health issues.'" 
 
EVANS 

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