Armenia ‘Must Seek Further Press Freedom’

Armenia is shown on a map composed by Reporters Without Borders, which shows the level of press freedom in each country. Darker colors indicate worse levels of press freedom.


YEREVAN—An Armenian media expert has warned against comparing the country’s press freedom level with other states, calling instead for stronger and more active efforts toward more progress.

“We should never think everything is good just because our neighbors lag behind us. That’s no comfort to us, we must try to be much more ahead,” Shushan Doydoyan, the president of the Freedom of Information Center, told Tert.am.

In the annual report, published by Reporters Without Borders, Armenia ranked 78th in the world in terms of press freedom, leaving behind its regional neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan, which were respectively in the 84th and 160th positions; although it should be noted that Armenia lost points since last year’s report while Georgia gained significantly.

Armenia slipped down four points in comparison with last year’s ranking. Doydoyan attributed the regress to pressures against two media outlets — Hraparak newspaper and the news website iLur.am — which were forced to reveal the sources of their information.

“That’s a key right of a journalist, so no one can impose any coercion on that unless extremely necessary. The circumstances of the case did not absolutely necessitate it, as there was no evidence of the public interest which would cause the court to satisfy the claim. The groundlessness of such a demand affects the country’s press freedom, shaking the mutual trust between the journalist and the source,” Doydoyan explained.

She noted that the case set the first ever judicial precedent in Armenia, forcing a journalist to disclose his source.

“Very often it is just the individual’s will [to remain unidentified]. So if a journalist is subjected to violence and not allowed to cover an event, then that’s the result of their [authorities’] aims. They do not protect a major interest in that way. It is necessary to undertake steps to develop more professional approaches in courts and raise the level of consciousness,” she said, stressing the importance of preventing similar court rulings in future.

Doydoyan said she thinks that the retreat is more serious than just the four points.

Commenting on the report, President of the Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardyan attributed the findings to methodological difficulties which he said very often lead up to inaccurately drawn statistics.

“If we take the latest report, all the findings there revealed a considerably positive process in Georgia in the recent years, mainly in terms of the authorities and political elite’s lesser control over broadcast media. And secondly, there have been positive developments in Georgia’s legislation,” he said.

As for the laws in Armenia, Navasardyan said he doesn’t think that the country initiated any reform to improve the situation of the media. “If we speak about the oversight of broadcast media, both the diversity and political plurality here considerably lag behind Georgia’s. But in terms of other criteria, the situation is almost the same,” he added.

Navasardyan said he is confident that more accurate estimates would have placed the country in a higher position compared to Armenia.

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9 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    Free press is essential to a strong and prosperous state. The less Armenia combats free thought, expression, and opposition newspapers, the better off it will be. Anyone who believes that Putin’s KGB approach to journalistic freedom is a worthwhile one should pack their bags and move to 1955. Time and human nature have proven this to be contrary to the development of nations and prosperity. There is no use in trying to revive it a la the Russia-oriented Customs Union.

  2. Gurgen said:

    “Press freedoms” simply mean giving Western interests the freedom to continue causing political unrest in Armenia by their constant disinformation campaign and incitement through their propaganda outlets posing as news agencies. Armenia unfortunately has more press freedoms than the US. What Armenia needs is tighter control on foreign funded news agencies and journalists.

    • Armenian said:

      Yes, Armenians should not have the right to free speech at home.

      You enjoy all of the benefits of freedom of speech in your comfortable life in the US and use it to express your vehemently anti-Western views, yet people in Armenia should not have that same right. This is called hypocrisy.

  3. AraK said:

    If Armenia joins Eurasian Union then her goose will be cooked for good. Freedom of speech, press and all the rest will be useless. Everything will be dictated from the Kremlin to the indifference of our oligarch and government crooks as long as their pockets stay full.

  4. Sarkis said:

    Here’s a good laugh: The Western psychological warfare division based in Armenia and operating under the disguise of “independent press” can publish any type of libel that it wants, from baseless allegations against Armenian officials, to derogatory and racist incitement against Artsakh Armenians (their “Karabakh Clan” rhetoric) and all manner of insults against Russia, Iran and other allies of Armenia. The Armenia-based, US State department funded “Armenia Liberty” refuses to officially refer to the Armenian Genocide as “Armenian Genocide” but instead uses Turkish-style “Armenians claim in 1915…” But according to the ARF media, someonenamed Shushan Doydoyan is the end-all “expert” (Armenia must hold the world record for per-capita experts who espouse pseudo-sociological and pseudo-geopolitical drivel) and according to her Armenia just isn’t free enough.

    There are currently people in jail in the West for merely questioning aspects of the holocaust. Edgar J. Steele (wife half-Armenian if anyone is interested) was recently either murdered or deliberately neglected to death in the USA in legal proceedings which violated every aspect of historical law and order. But no, never mind all that, there are just not enough anti-Russian media outlets in Armenia, therefore there must not be any freedom. So says “Reporters without Borders” an organization based in France, a country that has been arming and training the Islamist rebels who have caused so much death and destruction to the Armenians in Kessab and Der Zor.

  5. Avetis said:

    Much of the reason behind why Armenians have been demoralized and why there is a powerful sense of hopelessness in Armenia in recent years is precisely due to the hysteria fomented by the Western and opposition presses in Armenia. Armenia having press freedoms is a liability in this day in age when journalism and information are used as weapons-of-mass destruction by Western powers. In his book “The Brothers” author Stephen Kinzer reveals that the more free or open a society, the more vulnerable it is to Western manipulation and exploitation:

    “[The Dulles brothers] were able to succeed [at regime change] in Iran and Guatemala because those were democratic societies, they were open societies. They had free press; there were all kinds of independent organizations; there were professional groups; there were labor unions; there were student groups; there were religious organizations. When you have an open society, it’s very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it.”

    Stephen Kinzer in NPR Radio Interview: http://pd.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/fa/2013/10/20131016_fa_01.mp3?dl=1

    It is therefore not a surprise that Venezuelan and Egyptian governments have cracked down on Western journalists in their countries. If it was up to me, I would classify all Western funded journalists in Armenia as foreign combatants and deal with them accordingly. We should all know by now that “open society”, “economic reform”, “freedom of press” and “democracy” are more-or-less code words for making nations vulnerable to a destructive invasion by Western interests.

    Therefore, let there be no doubts as to why Western powers (and government connected influential individuals and organizations in the Western world) have been spending tens-of-billions of dollars in trying to create “open societies” around the world. As we have seen in recent years, former Soviet nations have been targeted by these architects of social engineering. Under lofty banners designed to play on people’s emotions, Western operatives throughout former Soviet society have been seeding nations with seeds of destruction for the past twenty years. Ukraine has become the most recent glaring example of this.

  6. ammacm said:

    “We should never think everything is good just because our neighbors lag behind us. That’s no comfort to us, we must try to be much more ahead,” Shushan Doydoyan, the president of the Freedom of Information Center, told Tert.am.

    Above is a joke, this person Shushan is a joke. Of course you compare your country with the neighbors you have, then you compare it to the next wider area and then to the world. That is the whole point of this report, that is to compare ones country against others.

    I also do not like the negative headline on this article since this is a positive report on Armenia that should be celebrated.

    • Armenian said:

      Why is she a joke? She’s pretty much saying that just because our neighbors are lagging means that we shouldn’t get too comfortable. She’s right. Don’t view other peoples’ failures– especially your enemies– as a part of your success. Her attitude is a terrific one and one that indicates that she doesn’t want Armenia to be slightly above our neighbors, she wants us to be our absolute best. Yes, we’re doing better than most people in the region, but that’s not enough. That’s like abandoning a massive weight loss diet because you successfully lost 10 pounds, and stress that victory, overlooking the fact that you still have another 50 to go.

      Maybe if more Armenians adopted that mindset and not one of sitting and waiting for our enemies to politely implode, fall behind or screw things up, we’d be much better off. I think her approach is the better one and will create an atmosphere of working to make us our best selves. We should stop trying to belittle or dismiss other peoples’ successes to make us feel better about our mediocrity.

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