YPC Weekly Newsletter

2009


PACE MARKED SETBACK IN MEDIA FREEDOM IN COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMBER STATES

The Report on Media Freedom of the Sub-Committee on Media of the PACE Committee on Culture, Science and Education is placed on the website of Council of Europe. Overall, for the last three years (2007-2009), the report notes a tangible regress of the level of freedom of media in Council of Europe member states. Armenia is repeatedly mentioned in different sections of the report.

Thus, the report particularly emphasizes that in varying degrees in a number of countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova – the authorities displayed intolerance towards the independent and inquiring media as well as political opponents. Four CoE member – Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Russia – were classified as not free by the international human rights organization “Freedom House”.

In the section dealing with cases of violence against journalists, PACE lists, in particular, the incidents occurred with Gagik Shamshian, free lance photo journalist, and Lusineh Barseghian, correspondent of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily. The incidents took place in Armenia during the presidential elections of 2008. The report also mentions the assaults of 2008 – on Hrach Melkumian, Acting Director of the Yerevan Bureau of the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Edik Baghdasarian, Head of “Investigative Journalists” NGO, as well as the assault on Argishti Kivirian, Coordinator of Armenia Today news agency – in 2009. The report also stresses about the State of Emergency declared after the presidential elections of February 19, 2008, and the temporary censorship imposed in that period.

As for the broadcasting sphere, PACE states that Armenia and Azerbaijan “maintain tight state controls over the management and work of their national television systems”. Armenia, the report notes, “is being strongly pressed to permit the popular independent TV channel “A1+”, whose broadcasting license was taken away in 2002, to be awarded a new one in line with a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights”.

Read the whole version of PACE report on www.coe.int.