In the first quarter of 2016, no cases of physical violence were recorded against journalists in Armenia. However, the situation was not favourable for the media and the journalists, as they faced a number of other obstacles and complications.
In particular, 20 cases of various types of pressures on media and journalist, and 10 cases of violation of the rights to receive and disseminate information have been recorded. Quantitatively these data are more, than data in the same period last year, by 6 and 3 respectively. Eleven of the mentioned 20 cases of pressure are new court cases with the involvement of media and journalists. Moreover, all of them are on the bases of insult and defamation stipulated by Article 1087.1 of RA Criminal Code.
The period in question outstood with bills circulated by the authorities, which envisaged unsubstantiated restrictions for media activity and were a threat to the freedom of expression. Those documents were unacceptable specifically in terms that they referred to RA Electoral Code and RA “Law on TV and radio”, according to which the media had to work during the upcoming parliamentary elections. Along with the partner organizations, the CPFE made recommendations to the working group formed by the authorities, which develops the new legislative package related to the elections, and hopes that they will be taken into consideration.
Another negative phenomenon in the first quarter of 2016 is that the expected final transition from analogue to digital broadcasting was not implemented. Whereas, according the RA “Law on TV and radio”, from January 1 of this year, the analogue broadcasting had to be turned off and only the digital had to operate.
The political environment was also unfavorable for the activity of the media and journalists. A number of cases were registered, when high officials, politicians and other famous individuals made neglecting and insulting, even hating expression towards the journalists. Related to cases more extraordinary than the aforementioned, the CPFE with nine partner organizations has made a joint statement.