Armenian Coverage of the London 2012 Olympics

14.08.2012, Critique

Journalist, member of the Union of Journalists of Armenia

The Summer Olympics in London wrapped up on August 12. Let's put the results aside and speak a little about their coverage.

In Armenia, the main source of information about the Olympics was the Public Television of Armenia. Working in London was the state broadcaster's sports commentator Karen Giloyan. Naturally, a broadcaster having its own correspondent on the scene is a huge advantage. We were informed of the all the details on athletes representing Armenia in the 2012 Olympics. 

However, which reports were being broadcast on Armenian public TV is a different conversation altogether. Armenian athletes were unable to win any medals in the first 8 days of the Games. Those days when our athletes were competing, the TV commentators were giving viewers hope that there's a possibility of winning a medal (particularly in the case of the weightlifters). However, it was enough to point to the athlete's latest modest performance indicators, and it would've been obvious that the chances of the Armenian team winning a medal at that time were close to zero. 

It was the first time many of the young Armenian commentators were covering such a huge sporting event as the Olympics. Except for Giloyan, nearly all the sports commentators mainly broadcast the football matches. It would've been better if coaches and athletes of different sports were included in the live broadcasting. Such a successful attempt was made on Aug. 11, when broadcasting freestyle wrestling with Karen Giloyan was Olympic silver medalist, Armenian wrestler Arsen Julfalakyan. 

The choice of sports broadcast by H1 (the main channel of Armenia's Public TV) was a bit odd. Obviously, the events Armenian athletes were participating in would be broadcast first of all, and it's understandable that the broadcasting preference was for wrestling, since the Federation was the broadcasting sponsor for this sport. However, during those days, there were sports being broadcast that weren't that interesting for Armenian viewers, such as equestrian sports. Armenian viewers didn't see any coverage of badminton, tennis and table tennis, or other dynamic sports.

Let me also note Armenian Public TV's dynamic and timely coverage of the London Games on Facebook.

Olympics coverage by local news outlets, on the other hand, was meager. There were few media representatives from Armenia in London. A large portion of the content was republished — one site would take it from another site, without citing or linking back to the original source.

For example, take the story of Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev leaving the sporting arena just before Arsen Julfalakyan's match with his Azerbaijani opponent. Armenian news media reported that Aliyev assumed the Armenian athlete would win. The news was disseminated by,,,,, and other local news websites. But it was never clear which site was the first to take this information from Julfalakyan's Facebook page and make a news story out of it. 

Tigran Hovhannisyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of

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