Jayne Pearce: "Azerbaijan earns reputation of brilliant organizer"

Baku has reached the middle of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games. The event, comparable to the 1st European Games in Baku, is covered by a lot of media companies, including by media from countries outside the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and a large number of Azerbaijani journalists. Media administrator of the Islamic Games in Baku Jane Pearce discussed the work with media and coverage of the games in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- How many journalists came to the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku?

- There were about 1200 correspondents at the 1st European Games in 2015. Right now there are about 800. It can be explained by the fact that European countries participated in the European Games, and they have more media than the OIC countries. Nevertheless, our coverage services work hard, we try to ensure that journalists and photographers have full access to everything. This year we have organized the central press center. Two years ago we had a separate media village, but there weren't enough applications this year, so it was more convenient to create the press center. All work is done there. We have created media hubs in various hotels. This is the main difference compared to the coverage of the 1st European Games in Baku.

- Has the quality of work improved over past two years?

- I think the main positive difference is that in 2015, we had a lot of foreign employees, at that time, we have just started to encourage young Azerbaijani specialists to work with us, and in 2017 all media managers, all people working with the press are Azerbaijani citizens. I'm really glad that we managed to implement our plan, train local specialists in accordance with the program, launched in 2015. We planned to use this program so that today all of our employees would be citizens of the republic - and we have succeeded. 

- What can you say about the coverage of the Islamic Games in Baku?

- In my opinion, Azerbaijani media cover the Islamic Games just like the European Games. We have a very good response from local media companies. AZERTAC, our official partner, fully covers competitions, just like it did with the European Games. I would like to note that there are many journalists from countries that don't participate in the Islamic Games, Agence France-Presse, for example, as well as photographers from international photo agency Getty Images. In total, there are 69 journalists and 35 photographers from international media.

- What is your impression of your work in Baku?

- I really enjoyed working here, even when I was part of a company that worked with the press at the European Games in 2015. At that time, I saw a lot of talented young people, who could really contribute to the development of media in the country. I liked the training program for young professionals, because skills, obtained in the field of media, can be used in many other professions. I think that those who participated in our program have a great future, and they will organize many more wonderful events. Moreover, there are specialists in Azerbaijan, whom I'll gladly hire to my company, if they want. 

- How do you assess prospects for the development of sport in Azerbaijan?

- You can just look at the streets of Baku, and you'll see that the city is preparing to host Formula-1 this summer. In 2020, Baku will host the European Football Championship. I believe Azerbaijan is developing successfully. It earns the reputation of a brilliant organizer of international sport competitions.

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