Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament in Yerevan on September 13, 2022. CPJ recently joined a call for Armenia to amend a draft law allowing for comprehensive wartime censorship. (Tigran Mehrabyan/PAN Photo via Reuters)

CPJ joins call for Armenia to amend draft law allowing comprehensive wartime censorship

On Tuesday, April 11, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined an open letter by the KeepItOn coalition of press freedom and human rights groups calling on the Armenian government to remove clauses in proposed legislation that would allow authorities to restrict access to websites and the internet during times of war.

Provisions in the draft law, On the Legal Regime of Martial Law, previously criticized by CPJ, would grant the Armenian government the power under declaration of martial law to block websites, social media, and internet applications and to enact partial or complete internet shutdowns across the country’s territory.

The letter highlights how the legislation poses a “serious threat to the freedom of expression in Armenia” and represents “an excuse to curtail press freedom.” Internet shutdowns “make it extremely difficult for journalists, the media, and human rights defenders to carry out their work,” and “restricting internet access in any manner disrupts the flow of information and hinders reporting and accountability for human rights abuses,” the letter says.

The full letter can be read here.