PUBLIC INFORMATION CONCEPT OF THE ARM MOD
Minister of Defence of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Seyran OHANYAN, 09 December, 2010
The Public Information Concept (PIC) of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of the Republic of Armenia (ARM) is based on the main guiding documents which define the fundamental directions and priorities of the internal and external security strategy of the State. It is a set of principles which is aimed at supporting the joint information policy of the ARM MoD.
The main purpose of the PIC is to define the ways and means of creating public awareness strategy on the activities of the ARM MoD and the General Staff of the ARM Armed Forces, and to increase the level of public awareness on the programs and reforms which are designed to improve and modernize the defence sector.
The principles stipulated in the PIC also apply to the defence sphere of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, in terms of providing comprehensive information on it. Providing information on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) is contained in the ARM National Security Strategy, which includes the NKR conflict settlement as a pivotal issue.
The PIC is based on the improvement and modernization programs for the Armed Forces - the implementation of the Defence Reform programs led by the need for more effective and efficient Armed Forces.
The reforms will make the ARM Armed Forces more transparent, and will increase the level of public accountability of the Armed Forces, that will also be supported by active cooperation with the Public Council at the ARM MoD, ARM Human Rights Defender Office and other relevant institutions.
The increase of public awareness of the army-building process will allow for the strengthening of the links between the Army and society and mutual trust, providing a good basis for protection of Constitutional principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Public awareness is also important from the perspective of information warfare, by confronting the anti-Armenian propaganda with comprehensive and reliable information.
Use of the civil control mechanisms in the Armed Forces will make the employment of the structure nominated for the country`s defence and security more predictable.
Pursuant to the abovementioned points, the defined aims and priorities of the Public Awareness Strategy of the MoD are set down below:
1. The Aims and Priorities of the Public Information Concept
Provide transparency of defense policy; improving public accountability.
Provide information on defence reforms, particularly on clarifying the functions of the MoD and the General Staff on the special civil service adoption process in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia.
Strengthen army-society cooperation by activating participation processes.
Launch close cooperation with the mass media (local and foreign) and NGOs by accepting development programs.
Provide wide-ranging information on the ARM AF activities in the internal and external information spaces. Develop and implement Public Awareness programs on increasing the ARM AF efficiency, deploying interoperable units in multi-national forces, enhanced participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, as well as on the morale and motivation of the servicemen. Raise the Public Awareness on the real goals of the adversary`s propaganda.
Provide information, aimed at increasing the reputation of the ARM AF on a periodical basis, also by involving high-ranking officers and officials of the defence sector in the Public Awareness implementation policy.
Organize training including distance electronic learning, in order to increase the awareness of the officers and servicemen deployed abroad for official trips, according to political-military cooperation programs.
Increase the level of civilian control over the Armed Forces.
Increase the level of human rights protection amongst military servicemen, by implementing joint programs with the ARM Human Rights Defender Office and other relevant institutions and organizations.
Reforms in the defence sphere and modernizing programs, and legislation changes aimed at specifying the social-juridical status of military servicemen, and also improving their service and living conditions.
Provide Public participation in the programs of developing strategic and conceptual documents in the defence and security sector, as well as in the formulation of defence policy.
Provide awareness on programs in the spheres of international political-military, military-technological and military-industrial cooperation, on the changes in these programs, as well as on training and retraining of specialists in local and foreign institutions on public relations issues.
In parallel with training and re-training of personnel for meeting current army standards, some other training should be undertaken for preparing unit-level officers on public awareness in order to ensure a more active and effective involvement of those officers in the future work with the public.
Involvement of social workers, sociologists, psychologists and other appropriate specialists in army-building process in order to ensure an atmosphere of good morale, patriotism and ideological stability.
Permanent attention to the military service and conscription organization issues, reserve forces personnel, improvement of combat readiness of military servicemen, pre-conscription and conscription related complex arrangements and training issues, as well as to appropriate public awareness issues.
Create a positive image of the Army and military servicemen and sustain this image by taking into account public opinion and strengthening the links between the state departments, NGOs and different social groups.
Promote military-patriotic education of the youth by providing extensive awareness of the victorious pages of the Freedom Fight for Artsakh, and the freedom fights of Armenians throughout history.
2. The Means and Development Perspectives of Organization and Implementation of the MoD`s Public Awareness Policy
To ensure the organization of public awareness according to the PIC, and taking into account permanent opinion by the public on defence policy, as well as to maintain appropriate feedback, it is required:
1. To centralize the departmental awareness potential and develop capabilities of the informational arsenal, by investing into new technical means and a new work-style, modern PR technologies, particularly:
1.1 Provision of guidance for the departmental TV-radio programs and the bulletins according to the new principles and viewpoints.
1.2 Enhancement of cooperation with the public and private TV-radio companies and other print and electronic media agencies, by implementing joint programs.
1.3 Enhancement of the capacities of the ARM MoD official website. Application of effective mechanisms of interaction with public via e-mail feedback, conduct surveys on the webpage about issues on the agenda and with public importance, organize forums, discussions and debates on the website about publicly important issues.
1.4 Usage of Hot Lines, Phones of Trust and other means to find out the outcomes of the defence reforms.
1.5 Launching of websites for the ARM AF peacekeeping units, military-educational institutions, etc.
1.6 Ideological and quality improvements of the ARM MoD information publications, military journals, launching new periodicals with their electronic versions.
1.7 Organization of production and presentation of documentaries and video clips, classification of the MoD photo-video archive, systematization of the documentary materials.
1.8 Conduct of awards distribution events for creative works on military-political topics with the involvement of extensive stratus of society. Create ad hoc groups on public awareness policy and other urgent issues; organize competitions and discussions on publicly important matters.
2. Continue effective and coordinated cooperation with print and electronic media as well as with NGOs. This particularly requires:
2.1 Development of existing labor customs in order to cover army events more comprehensively and impartially as well as to make information on army activities more publicly available. This should be done by timely announcements on official meetings, visits, events, discussions over issues that are urgent for the Army, conferences, seminars and awareness campaigns.
2.2 Continue organizing journalist visits to units executing combat duties.
2.3 Improvement of the mechanisms that make the from the defence sector available for the public, in order to provide uninhibited access to the open information on the activities of the MoD of the Republic of Armenia for mass media, NGOs and citizens.
2.4 Provision of a discussion platform for more substantial and objective coverage of abuse and crime cases in the army; prevention of speculation and inefficient interpretations of the mentioned topics on mass media.
3. Public opinion and public moods as well as the opinion of companies that make sociological researches should be taken as a basis for developing joint information policy. The polls should be undertaken, in cooperation with the companies specializing on sociological research, or by in-house means, in order to find out the following:
3.1 The credibility level of different social groups regarding the military-political programs being run by the MoD, the defence reforms, as well as their assessment, which will bring about identifying effective ways of gaining public support for the current reforms and the changes in defence legislation.
3.2 Public viewpoint and expectations of the country`s security level and the combat capabilities of the Armenian Armed Forces, that considers them as a main guarantor of the country`s security, as well as public attitude towards defects and undertakings aimed at exterminating the defects.
4. Prioritize the military-patriotic education and readiness for homeland protection amongst the youth, the pre-conscription age individuals in particular, in cooperation with structures dealing with the individuals of the mentioned age.
5. Continue to maintain public awareness on legislature changes, concurrently with the defence reforms. Organize public discussions on these topics if necessary.
6. Prioritize cooperation with international media sources by enhancing possibilities of foreign language information flow.
3. Rules of Public Information Concept Application
The provisions of the PIC are implemented by the Information and Public Affairs Department (IPAD) of the ARM MoD, guided by the Department regulations and other legislative documents of the Republic of Armenia related to this sphere.
The activities aimed at implementing the PIC provisions are included in mid and long term working plans and programs of the IPAD.
In order to develop the current plans and prospects for implementation of joint information policy the IPAD receives systemized information in time from all the authorized units of the ARM MoD and GS AF. The information constitutes the plans, programs, events and reports on their realization, which corresponds to the directions of the PIC provisions. The units providing information take care also about the feedback on the information provided.
The PIC provisions review frequency is guided by a set of legislative documents regulating this sphere, by other guideline documents, and by mid and long-term defence policy programs.
Development of the PIC is the responsibility of the ARM MoD units, that responsible also for development of information policy and its implementation. The PIC is approved by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Armenia.
In contacts with the public, the MoD and Armed Forces officials, when representing their structures, should follow the PIC provisions and other guidelines and orders, developed by IPAD in accordance with the mentioned provisions.