Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces battled in early April not just over territory, but also for control of the international media narrative about their 28-year-long struggle over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Karabakh conflict has simmered and bubbled for the past 22 years, but generally has escaped the attention of mainstream international reporters. That all changed on April 2-5, with the worst outbreak of violence since a 1994 ceasefire.
The ability of journalists to cover the conflict, though, varied markedly.
Many foreign journalists were able to enter Karabakh via Armenia unhindered and quickly obtain accreditation upon arrival in the main city, Stepanakert. Local de facto officials held daily press briefings, including question and answer sessions, at a central hotel. Armenia’s public television station offered free satellite link-ups and journalists were able to travel independently in civilian vehicles outside the frontline areas.
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Robin Forestier-Walker is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi.