During the Second Karabakh War in 2020, President Ilham Aliyev made numerous appearances in the international media to help Azerbaijan with the information war waged against the country by the Armenian diaspora and its supporters.
Against the backdrop of this media bias, President Ilham Aliyev himself led Azerbaijan’s information war – giving interviews in four languages and to media companies from around the world during the war that lasted from September 27 and November 10.
The president gave around 30 interviews to the international media companies like the BBC, CNN, Sky, Al Jazeera, Fox TV, ARD, Le Figaro newspaper, TRT, RBC among many others. Through these interviews, Aliyev made Azerbaijan’s voice heard to the international community.
The interviews educated the international community on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, namely that Armenia’s occupation of the Azerbaijani territories and its disregard of the UN resolutions and the international law were at the heart of the war between Baku and Yerevan.
Analysis of media coverage of the 44-day war, shows that Western media outlets were considerably tilting towards Armenia during the war, despite the fact that Yerevan was the initiator and the cause of the war. Many state-owned and private media outlets rushed to defend Armenia from the first day of the war, giving one-sided coverage of the conflict, mispresenting and sometimes deliberately distorting the facts, and giving platform only to Armenian pundits.
Considering this bias, President Aliyev’s interviews to various media outlets, helped to change the dynamics of the information war and tip the balance in favor of Azerbaijan to some extent.
Aliyev’s interviews continue to draw attention of the global and domestic audience with videos of these interviews being sheared in a wide range of social media platforms to this day.
For instance, the interview President Ilham Aliyev gave to BBC during the war in 2020, has gathered three million views on Twitter.
The video was liked by more than 85,000 users, up to 3,000 users commented and up to 33,000 users shared the video in their profiles.
The videos of Aliyev’s interviews are also famous in Azerbaijan and in neighbouring countries.
By Aisha Jabbarova