We, the undersigned journalist organizations, congratulate Nikol Pashinyan on the occasion of being elected as the RA Prime Minister and taking the office, and we express our hope that the new government will make radical reforms in Armenia.
We are sure, that such reforms are needed in the fields of mass media and information freedom. A number of legislative changes passed during the recent period groundlessly restrict transparency and accountability of the government activity, and violate the right to receive and disseminate information.
Examples as such are the Law on making changes and amendments in the “Law on structure and activity of the Governemnt” and the “Law on local self-government in Yerevan City” passed on March 23 of this year, the first of which stipulates that the sessions of the high executive body are held behind the doors, and the second stipulates creation of conditions restraining the work of the mass media representatives covering the sessions of the local council in the capital. With the changes in the RA “Law on Procurement” from December 2015, all procurements related to the activity of the Prime Minister, the President and the Speaker of the Parliament are considered confidential, which can result in corruption risks.
For many decades we have been voicing the problems related to the field of broadcasting and insist that the RA “Law on TV and radio” should be radically reviewed and relations in this field should be reformed. However, our expert opinions and legislative initiatives, as a rule, have been ignored, as the authorities strived to maintain the status-quo in the field they oversee.
All the flaws of the Armenian TV broadcasting were vividly seen especially during the first week of covering the events of the velvet revolution.
A number of other serious challenges exist in the field of media: problems of centralization of media outlets and transparency of ownership, politicized advertisement area, numerous cases of physical violence against the journalists and cases of impeding professional legal activity, which remained unpunished, etc.
We express our willingness to participate actively in the legislative and practical reforms relating to the freedom of information and media, bringing our knowledge and experience to serve that purpose: We suggest the newly elected Prime Minister to organize a meeting with us to discuss the aforementioned problems and possible solutions in more details.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
CENTER FOR MEDIA INITIATIVES
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER OF ARMENIA
INSTITUTE OF COMPREHENSIVE INFORMATION – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB