Armenian News Network / Groong


Conversations on Groong: Talking with Alison Tahmizian Meuse



November 17, 2021


     Alison Tahmizian Meuse


     Hovik Manucharyan

     Asbed Bedrossian



Hello and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, In this Conversations on Groong episode, we’ll be talking with a veteran journalist who has recently shifted gears, and also moved to the homeland.


This episode was recorded on Monday, November 15, 2021.


Talking with Alison Tahmizian Meuse


We have with us

Alison Tahmizian Meuse, who is a graduate of the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is a French and Arabic speaker, and a veteran Middle East journalist, having worked over the past decade as a producer, correspondent and editor for major international publications including Agence France-Presse, NPR, and the Asia Times. She currently serves as a strategic advisor for the New Delhi-based consultancy DeepStrat and is newly based in Yerevan.



Intro to Alison


So in your decade-long professional journey, you’ve covered some important aspects of the Arab Spring. For example, you covered the Egyptian uprising, the Syrian civil war, the rise of the Islamic State, the Lebanese financial collapse and the Beirut explosion.


Can you tell us what drove you to be a journalist in the first place, and then also, what drove you to these dangerous scenes of international conflict?

      Evans episode

      Cairo, AFP learning the basics

      Immersion in the language and society

      Applying my background to the job


You are an Armenian-American, how did you end up in Yerevan?

      Office, or homeland?

      Coverage of war and peace in Armenia, and effects on the new generation.

      A place where global media outlets can establish a base


War in Artsakh


Let’s turn our attention to our region. Can you tell us how you experienced the War in Artsakh last year? In particular we want to hear your thoughts about the media coverage of the conflict. Were you in Armenia at the time? Were you working for a media organization?


What are your thoughts about western media coverage of the war?

      … Azerbaijani money and how it affects media coverage?

      … Is your Armenian identity an asset or liability when you want to cover the region?

      … How prevalent is “both-sidism” in editorial policy?

      … Azerbaijani money and how it affects media coverage?




You have a large following on Twitter, and you regularly tweet about your areas of interest and expertise.


      What has been your experience on Twitter as a platform for sharing news and political analysis?

      Twitter is the only place where you can actually call out a high-level official or organization and get a response. With print media dying out, letters to the editor have lost a lot of their reach. And you have comments sections, but those can be monopolized by fake accounts and sometimes they are even shut down. And if you look at some of the supposedly prestigious platforms for publishing articles advocating policy, say Carnegie, you don’t even have a public venue for feedback. You’re reduced to email, a stonewall that exists to protect itself and its people. So twitter is the place where you can actually call things out when they’re wrong, and get backup from respected names that may be halfway around the world.

      What do you use Twitter for, philosophically speaking?


The Armenian community on Twitter has been very divided since the war. By now we know this is not an Armenian phenomenon, but more likely social media shrinking the global village and amplifying polarizations, while dampening or muting areas where people find understanding and common ground.


      How has this affected your experience as a journalist reporting in a world of conflict?

      Not necessarily polarized but there are some very loud voices trying to censor anyone critical of what is happening in Armenia today.



      What about specifically Armenian news, and the coverage of the war?


Media Freedoms in Armenia

This year has seen the Armenian government enact a number of laws that they say are meant to be anti-defamatory or anti-slander, by raising penalties on insults and defamatory statements. The reality has been greater opacity in reporting on government and parliamentary affairs, and a decline in Internet freedom in Armenia. International organizations like Freedom House were widely reported as they slammed the Pashinyan’s government for these laws, saying that they “degrade the norms of democracy” in Armenia.


      As a journalist, what are your impressions about these recent changes to Armenian law to restrict media?

      As a reporter, how would such a law factor into your work? And have you encountered such circumstances in the past?

      What has been your experience with such laws in reporting from other countries in the region?


Future Plans

What are your plans in the coming year?



That concludes this Conversations On Groong episode, and we hope you found it helpful. As always we invite your feedback, you can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website


Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on Youtube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.


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Alison Meuse, Journalism, Armenia, Media Freedom, Artsakh War, Middle East, defamation, Twitter, Harassment, Internet Freedom,