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Diversity but not yet independence: Press Freedom in Armenia (video)

The 2021 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that journalism, the main vaccine against disinformation, is completely or partly blocked in 73% of the 180 countries ranked by the organisation.
This year’s Index, which evaluates the press freedom situation in 180 countries and territories annually, shows that journalism, journalism, which is arguably the best vaccine against the virus of disinformation, is totally blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others, which together represent 73% of the countries evaluated. These countries are classified as having “very bad,” “bad” or “problematic” environments for press freedom, and are identified accordingly in black, red or orange on the World Press Freedom map.
Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fifth year running even though its media have complained of a lack of access to state-held information about the pandemic. Finland maintained its position in second place while Sweden (up 1 at 3rd) recovered its third place ranking, which it had yielded to Denmark (down 1 at 4th) last year. The 2021 Index demonstrates the success of these Nordic nations’ approach towards upholding press freedom.
Situation in Armenia

Armenia RANKING -2 61 in 2020

GLOBAL SCORE -0.23 28.60 in 2020

63 out of 180 countries in the world rankings in 2021

Score: 28.83


Media diversity has blossomed but the government that emerged from Armenia’s “velvet revolution” in the spring of 2018 has failed to reduce the media’s polarisation. The editorial policies of the main TV channels coincide with the interests of their owners. Transparent media ownership and journalistic independence are still far from being achieved.

The latter was even more restricted during the state of emergency declared on 27 September 2020, at the start of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory disputed with neighbouring Azerbaijan. Journalists meanwhile continue to be targeted by certain political groups, as seen when the premises of Radio Azatutyun were attacked on 10 November, shortly after the ceasefire. There is concern about the volume of judicial proceedings against journalists and about excesses in the fight against fake news.

The involvement of the security services in combatting disinformation and attempts to legislate without prior discussion with civil society and journalists are alarming.

But investigative journalism is flourishing online and is well placed to play a major role in a national offensive against corruption.