Quarterly report of CPFE on the Situation with Freedom of Expression and Violations of Rights of Journalists and Media in Armenia (July – September, 2018)

The third quarter of 2018 was a period that includes elections to the Yerevan City council. These were conditioned by the velvet revolution in linked to the political developments in Armenia. These elections favorably differed from all the previous ones not only by successfully reacting to the electoral violations, but also in terms of free operation by the journalists and media outlets. Despite that, on the actual election day, on September 23, one case of violence and one case of pressure on the media representatives were recorded. For comparison, we should say that on May 14, 2017, on the day of election to the Yerevan city council 2 cases of physical violence and 5 cases of impeding professional activity were recorded.

In general, during the third period, unlike the second one, when the velvet revolution was taking place, the total number of violations of the rights of media outlets and the journalists has significantly decreased reaching 37 from 54. In particular, cases of physical violence have sharply decreased: two cases have been recorded (19 in the previous quarter), as well as cases of various types of pressure have decreased: 13 cases have been recorded (25 in the previous quarter). In terms of violating the right to receive and disseminate information 22 cases have been recorded (12 cases in the previous quarter).

During the post-revolution period, and specifically during the campaign for extraordinary elections to the Yerevan City council, it became boldly evident how Armenian media outlets are divided into political and financial camps. The atmosphere of intolerance was also transferred to the social media, where media outlets also became the target of various political groups. Various political powers paid attention to this problem.

During the period in question, one of the problems the media was concerned about was the work of the public relations departments of the state agencies.
Although the Prime Minister and other members of the government communicated with the public online, it cannot fully replace the activity of the aforementioned departments. At the same time, the issues of contact with the government members remained unsolved for the journalists.

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