The human cost of conflict

International Alert’s new brochure showcases and reflects on the work of Unheard Voices, an innovative EU-funded project bringing together media professionals from major mainstream and independent media outlets in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorny Karabakh.

The project was initiated in April 2014 by journalists involved in dialogue and professional development work with Alert since 2011, who felt that an alternative was needed to the aggressive, pro-war rhetoric that is so widespread in the region. With Alert’s help, they established a joint reporting format, wherein journalists from across the conflicting societies profile the lives of ordinary people, including in marginalised and hard-to-reach communities along the frontline, highlighting the human cost of the ongoing conflict.

To date, the group has produced reports by 46 journalists, interviewed 322 people and reached a total audience of around 40,000 across 10 online media platforms, including mainstream and independent agencies based in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorny Karabakh and Russia. The stories are also available through social media, including the Unheard Voices Facebook page, giving the public rare exposure to the experiences of ordinary people on the other side of the conflict divide, stimulating empathy and reflection.

This brochure showcases just some of the many materials produced as part of the project. It features quotes from people affected by the conflict, readers’ comments, as well as reflections from the experts and journalists themselves. It also features the code of conduct drawn up by the group, which represents a key achievement of their work. The code, which all participating journalists have agreed to uphold and respect, holds at its core the adherence to ethical and high-quality journalistic standards with a peacebuilding aim.

Alert has been working with mainstream journalists in the Nagorny Karabakh context for the last three years. In this time, our work has included tailor-made training courses and workshops, as well as professional development programmes in Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project is supported by the EU as part of the European Partnership for the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (EPNK). Find out more at www.epnk.org

You can read the Unheard Voices brochure in English here and Russian here.