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Shushi Media Forum Sparks Debate Amid Crisis, Journalists Overlook History and Humanitarian Crisis

Shushi Media Forum Sparks Debate Amid Crisis, Journalists Overlook History and Humanitarian Crisis

The curtain falls on the "Global Media Forum" in Shushi, an ethnic Armenian city nestled within the heart of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as discussions abound and an unfolding humanitarian crisis reverberates in the background. Just a stone's throw away, a dire situation looms over 120,000 people in the region, underscoring the significance of the city's historical and cultural backdrop. Shushi's recent past, marked by Azerbaijani occupation during the 2020 Artsakh war, adds layers of complexity to the media forum's proceedings.

As delegates participated in panel discussions, savored local delights, and embarked on city explorations, a cloud of unresolved accusations and criticisms hung over their interactions. Despite the event's atmosphere, the underlying plight of Artsakh's people remained palpable.

This historic city, known for its rich Armenian heritage, stands as a poignant testament to the region's resilience and identity. However, during the 2020 Artsakh war, Azerbaijani forces occupied Shushi, marking a painful chapter in its history.

Amidst the joyous exchanges and camaraderie, the media forum attendees seemed to overlook the historical background that has shaped Shushi. Little information was available about these participants, prompting an effort to discern the notable figures who lent their presence to the event.

Azerbaijani sources indicate that the forum attracted 150 foreign guests, including representatives from 34 state news agencies, delegates from 12 international organizations, and media companies. However, the enthusiasm of the event seemed to contrast starkly with the looming disaster a mere 10 kilometers away.

The road leading to Armenia, a lifeline for the beleaguered Artsakh population, remains closed, intensifying the region's woes. Even humanitarian efforts, such as those by the International Committee of the Red Cross, are hindered by the impassable Lachin Corridor. This critical route, essential for the well-being of Artsakh's people, remains blocked despite the pressing needs of the region.

The consequences of this road closure ripple far and wide. Stress and malnutrition have led to a disturbing increase in fetal loss during early pregnancies. The suspension of planned surgeries has left approximately 1,400 individuals without access to vital medical treatments, highlighting the dire impact on the population's health.

Beyond the healthcare sector, the economic toll is equally alarming. Thousands have lost their livelihoods, and the scarcity of essential supplies has brought the region to its knees. The plight of the people of Artsakh is deeply intertwined with the question of access to the outside world, a predicament that remains unresolved.

Calls from the international community to address this crisis have grown louder, with a resounding emphasis on the urgent need to reopen the Lachin Corridor. Suggestions to deliver humanitarian aid via the Azerbaijani city of Aghdam have been met with opposition from Artsakh's population, who view this proposal with skepticism.

Curiously, the media representatives present at the forum chose not to publicly address these pressing concerns during their visit. Only two organizations, the "International Federation of Journalists" and the "European Federation of Journalists," took a stand, appealing to Azerbaijani authorities for the free movement of journalists in Artsakh. Their efforts to travel to Stepanakert were met with resistance from Azerbaijani forces.

While the media forum sought to foster dialogue and understanding, the stark contrast with the region's ongoing crisis is hard to ignore. Shushi's historical significance as a symbol of resilience and reclamation underscores the complex backdrop against which these discussions unfolded.


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