Armenia “Not Free” on World Press Freedom Day

Media professionals in Armenia are celebrating the World Press Freedom Day on May 3. Meanwhile, the U.S. based watchdog “Freedom House” has released its annual “Freedom of the Press 2010” report, a global survey of media independence, which again places Armenia in the “not free” category.

“Ukraine, Armenia, and Moldova registered slight improvements,” the organization says in the press release on the report’s launch,  marking an overall decline of press freedom in the post-Soviet area, with Russia “remaining among the world’s more repressive and most dangerous media environments.”

The organization has also published some historical maps of its press freedom survey, from which we can see, that Armenia was classed as “partly free” back in 2000, however, following the closure of “A1+” in 2003 the country’s freedom rating fell back to “not free” again.

A quick look into the methodology of the research suggests, that its probably quite subjective: “the findings are reached after a multilayered process of analysis and evaluation by a team of regional experts and scholars.” The feeling on the ground, however, is that Armenia is far from having a free media environment.

Sure, the internet and newspapers in Armenia are absolutely free to write anything they like, but their circulation is small and the influence is low, so that’s probably one of the main reasons why they’re allowed to exercise freedom of speech to some extent. Meanwhile, the broadcast media, the large TV companies in particular practice heavy self-censorship in the newsroom, and when they don’t, they are shut down, like ‘A1+” or pressurized, like “Gala” TV.

Worse, yet, is the realization, that the situation is bound to degrade further. Armenia’s big friends and trade partners, Russia, China, Iran, are the most restrictive regimes in the world. And I’m dismayed at reading ‘small improvements’ in the research. Where did they see it? Just because the country had no major election and related attacks on journalists, doesn’t mean there is an improvement. But I’m subjective of course, and so is the research.


5 thoughts on “Armenia “Not Free” on World Press Freedom Day

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Armenia “Not Free” on World Press Freedom Day « The Armenian Observer Blog --

  2. There seems to be a strong correlation between prosperity and basic human freedoms like media, religion and such…

  3. It is hilarious that a U.S.based “watchdog” Freedom House places Armenia or any other country in the “not free” or any other category. Mainstream news media in U.S.A. are propaganda mouthpieces of U.S. government which means they are not “free” to report news accurately. They self-censor to appease their government and their advertisers. This Freedom House “watchdog” itself is U.S. government propaganda network.

    Who is Freedom House? Freedom House is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has a number of field offices in various countries across the world. At one time, James Woolsey, former CIA director, was chairman of Freedom House. It receives about 66% of its budget from U.S. government through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID, both of which are CIA fronts operating overtly – do the research – and the State Department. Freedom House, a political instrument, operates in conjunction with other U.S.-created organizations to advance the interests of U.S. government and meddles in other sovereign nations’ affairs. Freedom House was against creation of International Criminal Court and has supported revolutions in Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and other “colored revolutions”. CIA has used Freedom House to provide public relations war against Nicaraguan and other governments not subservient to U.S.A. and has encouraged subversion in Cuba. In 2003, Freedom House supported invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is one of several organizations selected by the State Department for U.S.A.’s clandestine operations inside Iran. The list of Freedom Houses’ meddling in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations is very long.

    Freedom House claims to be “a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world” and that it is “united in the view that American leadership in international affairs is essential to the cause of human rights and freedom” which can be primarily achieved through Freedom House’s “analysis, advocacy and action”. Tell that to the millions killed, maimed and displaced, exploited and subjugated in other countries at the hands of U.S.A. to “liberate” them and bring “freedom” and “democracy”.

    True freedom of press is unbiased balanced investigative reporting of all news and events without distortions, lies and nasty adjectives of choice added to names of leaders of other countries and without repeating false accusations by their leaders and media as true facts to drum up support for wars of aggression or to shape elections to yield their desired outcome or to push a specific agenda forward.

    It is best to not pay attention to any “watchdog” based in U.S.A. and funded by U.S. government pointing fingers at others and exalting its own. People in countries outside U.S.A. know whether their press is free or not without U.S. Freedom House pointing fingers at them and sticking its noise in other countries’ affairs.

    Historically, the countries that have been prosperous are often colonialists and imperialists who have subjugated, exploited and plundered other countries and continents, populations, resources and economies through threats, bribes, blackmails, wars, clandestine operations and front organizations – as John Perkins describes in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” – beneficial to them and has nothing to do with “freedom of press” or religion.

    • Well, not all the prosperous countries were colonialists (South Korea, for example, is prosperous and has been free for some time now but has been colonized, not a colonialist country), and not all colonialists are prosperous or free (look at Russia – it was/is a colonialist but is neither prosperous nor free).

      Beyond the rant on CIA or the US, you do not mention an alternative source for obtaining a picture on media freedom in the world. But even then, I don’t think you are disagreeing on the fact that the media in Armenia is “not free”.

      • Nazarian, thank you for your comment.

        I did not write “all the prosperous countries” are colonialists. I wrote “often”. Nor did I write that all non-colonialists are not prosperous.

        Regarding Korea, North Korea has been enduring sanctions, embargoes and restrictions by colonial countries for very long time – since Korea was divided which in itself is an injustice – while South Korea has been receiving some assistance from its occupiers. Such sanctions will bear heavy impact on the country being sanctioned.

        It is obvious that “alternative source for obtaining a picture on media freedom” is alternative news from around the world through Internet and various sources. Turn off the TV and the mainstream news media.

        As for your comment “rant on CIA or the US”, everything I wrote is factual and has nothing to do with “rant”. People ought to know who “Freedom House” is and what it has been doing, before accepting its conclusions. Organizations like Freedom House which is mentioned in this thread, should be shunned. If countries want to be free and truly independent sovereign nations, it would be wise to keep such organizations as Freedom Watch, NED, USAID out of their internal affairs altogether. If they want change or freedom, they should do it from within and not have some outside interferences and pressures.

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