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Armenia


New York, March 15, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Armenia's refusal to allow four reporters with the Finnish public broadcaster YLE to enter the country, and called on the authorities today to allow the journalists to resume their work in Armenia. 

On the Runet, Old-School Repression Meets New

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched a blog but the Kremlin promised to tightly control who can comment on it. (Reuters)

By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."

Top Developments
• New broadcast law gives regulators broad powers to revoke TV licenses.
• Gala TV, a rare critical broadcaster, faces array of government pressures.

Key Statistic
1: Number of digital television licenses the government will grant per region. The plan will cut diversity.


As his government strengthened ties with Russia, President Serzh Sargsyan had to quell lingering domestic discontent over electoral fraud and economic woes, particularly in the construction and mining industries. New legislation granted regulators broad new powers to award and revoke licenses, while putting severe limits on the number of provincial broadcast licenses. Self-censorship remained widespread in the media, as lawlessness curbed the activities of journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition leaders.

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

New York, December 2, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about reports that Nikol Pashinian, an opposition activist and editor-in-chief of the independent daily Haykakan Zhamanak, was beaten in custody and moved into solitary confinement.
Haykakan Zhanamak

New York, June 2, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is very concerned that Armenian authorities are detaining Ani Gevorgian, a journalist for the pro-opposition daily Haykakan Zhanamak, after she was arrested on assignment on Monday. Police in the capital, Yerevan, arrested Gevorgian, left, as she was covering a sit-in at Liberty Square being staged by activists with the Armenian National Congress, Anna Akopyan, Haykakan Zhanamak’s director, told CPJ. 

We issued the following statement today after the National Assembly of Armenia approved on a second reading the decriminalization of defamation, including libel and insult. If signed into law, the amendments to Armenia’s penal and administrative code will remove imprisonment from the list of penalties for defamation; individuals found guilty of the offense would face a monetary fine as maximum punishment. 

Top Developments
• Broadcast media controlled by government or its allies.
• Numerous assaults reported, but police do little.

Key Statistic
12: Broadcast license applications filed by independent outlet A1+. None approved.

The nation remained polarized by the fraud-marred 2008 presidential election won by Serzh Sargsyan, with large public protests and violent government reprisals continuing well into 2009. The global economic crisis caused layoffs in the mining industry and a decline in remittances from Russia, heightening public frustrations. The government sought to suppress critical debate over these issues, and journalists faced intolerance, hostility, and violence.

New York, April 30, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Armenian authorities to apprehend three assailants who attacked Argishti Kivirian, editor of the independent news Web site Armenia Today. The unidentified men beat Kivirian early this morning, leaving him hospitalized in serious condition, Zhanna Alexanian, president of the Yerevan-based organization Journalists for Human Rights, told CPJ. 

Harassment of journalists and self-censorship among the news media intensified before and after a flawed February 2008 presidential election. The countryís authoritarian president, Robert Kocharian, imposed a state of emergency after the balloting to suppress demonstrations and block independent news reporting, a move that allowed him to deliver the presidency to a hand-picked successor, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

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Europe and Central Asia

Program Coordinator:
Nina Ognianova

Research Associate:
Muzaffar Suleymanov

nognianova@cpj.org
msuleymanov@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
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Blog: Nina Ognianova
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