Democracy Degrading in Armenia in 2006 According to The Freedom House

“Freedom House” international human rights organization released its annual “Nations in Transit” report this week. The title of the report is somewhat misleading however, as the figures and data are all about the 2006. But anyway, here’s a link to the Country Summaries(pdf) and Armenia – Country Report section(pdf).
We can see from the first document, that while Georgia has improved its score from 4.86 to 4.68 (the smaller the figure, the better it is for democracy), Armenia and Azerbaijan have both degraded instead. The democracy score of Armenia has gone down from 5.14 to 5.21, and for Azerbaijan it has moved from 5.93 down to 6.00. Here’s the short summary for Armenia:

Little progress was made on redistributing power amongst government branches. Rather, consolidation of political power in the ruling party and elites paved the way for a continued grip on political and economic power during 2007 parliamentary elections. The government’s failure to investigate allegations of fraud during the 2005 referendum, and its inability to produce legislation putting into effect approved amendments, demonstrated the lack of political will to improve governance in Armenia. While media organizations were partially successful in influencing a change in Armenia’s licensing regime and a new regulatory body, accelerated attacks on journalists suggested an increasingly difficult media environment in the run up to 2007 elections.

Of course we have yet to see what the report will say about the Parliamentary Elections 2007 in Armenia, which were recognized as Free and Fair by a number of observation missions. I guess we will see some positive changes in the figures in Freedom House’s report next year. Let’s prey, that its not just the figures improving, but lives of people here in Armenia. So far I’m rather skeptical…

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. By the way – one of the things that is giving Armenia a face-lift in this report is the Civil Society – it has a score of 3.50. There are some very interesting thoughts about the state of Civil Society and especially NGOs in the report:

    The financial viability of NGOs is nevertheless strengthening, owing to legislative improvements, more effective preparation of requests for funding, and improved advocacy skills. However, most civil society groups remain dependent on foreign funding. Domestic charities, such as the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, and the U.S.-based Lincy Foundation successfully raise funds from the Armenian diaspora. The dependence of most NGOs on foreign donations has led to concerns that this practice weakens the civic sector’s incentive to establish strong links with Armenian society. It has also led to public perceptions of civil society groups as businesses sponsored by foreign donors rather than civic organizations. Media coverage of civil society activity tends to be restricted to isolated initiatives and is often dependent on personal contacts. Public membership in NGOs is still low: According to the Armenian National Voter Study conducted by the IRI in April–May 2006, just 2 percent of the population were members of an NGO.

  2. Independent Media scores have gone from bad to worse since 1999 according to this report:

    Although the government has adopted some progressive legislation, implementation has been in-consistent. Moreover, pluralism remains confined largely to the independent print media, which enjoy much less influence than the predominantly pro-government broadcast media. Several assaults against journalists in 2006 highlighted the difficult conditions faced by the independent media. These included, in September, an assault on the chief editor of the newspaper Iravunk, Hovhannes Galajian, who attributed the attack to his investigative reporting of criminal activity in Yerevan.
    In another case, a freelance journalist was threatened and abused. In addition, the sentencing to a four-year prison term of Arman Babajanian, editor of the opposition Zhamanak Yerevan daily, following his conviction on charges of document fraud to avoid mili¬tary service, was attributed by colleagues to his journalist activities. According to the human rights ombudsman, a two-to-three-year sentence would normally be given.

  3. You will never see good things there.
    The only possible case – is some kind of orange revolution.
    Let’s just think about it – people, who give out materials for such book, can not see good things. They do not see, for example that we have 22 TV channels in Yerevan, while in all other countries there are 4-5. I’ve written about negativism – but their negativism have financial backing – just imagine, if everybody will see good things – they will lose their grants.
    They do not see, that there was no diffamation cases, there was no closed newspapers, and the only “crime” in media field was that A1plus case, that was done in 2002, and still is printed in every report.
    That Babajanyan is simply a criminal: why didn’t he paid his duty for army?
    Or is his case fabricated?
    These reports are nothing but tool of pressure.

  4. Most of what you posted from the report is objectively correct. Undoubtedly, their glasses would be more rosy when looking at Georgia, but then, quite objectively, from all the sources I get the info on Georgia, she IS becoming a more fairly managed and less corrupt country, compared with Armenia.

  5. I still hope, that the next year’s report about Armenia will be more positive considering the parliamentary elections.

  6. For more information on Freedom House see the link below:

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