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“Freedom House” international human right’s organization has released it’s annual report on freedom of press in the world in 2008. The report rates Armenian media ‘not free’ for the 7th consecutive year.
Out of 195 countries and territories surveyed – media were recognized as free in 70 (or 36%), in 61 (or 31%) – partly free and in 64 (or 33%) were rated not free. “Freedom House” notes the overall negative shift in media freedom worldwide.
The list is topped by Iceland – 9 points, followed by Finland and Norway – 10 points each, Denmark and Sweden – 11 points each.
Of the post-Soviet countries only the press of the three Baltic States is recognized by “Freedom House” to be free, and only Ukraine (55 points) and Georgia (60 points) are classed as partly free since 2004. At the same time, the situation of free expression in Ukraine has somewhat deteriorated comparing with 2007 (53 points).
Other countries of the former USSR remain unfree. As compared to 2007, the situation in Turkmenistan remains unchanged – (96), which is in the second rank from the end, getting ahead of only North Korea (98). The rankings of Kazakhstan (78) and Belarus (91) have note changed neither, but the indexes of others have moved a little down: Moldova – 67 points (versus 66 in 2007), Kyrgyzstan – 72 (versus 70), Azerbaijan – 78 (versus 77), Tajikistan – 78 (versus 77), Russia – 80 (versus 78), Uzbekistan – 93 (versus 92).
The ranking of Armenia in 2008 has moved down as well – 68 points (versus 66 in 2007). The Armenian media remain to be classed as not free for seven years already, since 2002. The deterioration of freedom of expression situation in Armenia, “Freedom House” explains, is due, to the fact that during the state of emergency in March 2008 “government censored all media for several weeks and obstructed the work of both local and foreign journalists”, and to the moratorium on broadcast licensing set until July 2010.