YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


A GLIMPSE OF MEDIA?

Recently National Report of Human Development in Armenia in year 2000, prepared by the RA President Office jointly with a group of independent experts, selected on a competitive basis, at the financial support of United Nations Development Program.

A certain part of the Report is dedicated to media. In particular, it mentioned that over the past few years the negative consequences of economic crisis have been manifest also in the realization of political and civil rights, in this way endangering the democratic achievements of the first years of independence. For example, there is a great number of editions in Armenia that comment on the current events in different ways, however, the total print run of dailies per 100 people amounts to 3.9 copies. This means that the vast majority of the population simply cannot afford buying newspapers for economic reasons. (The Report also includes a chart, representing the sharp reduction in print runs of almost all newspapers in years 1996-2000.) At the same time, the Report mentions that editions with such small print runs cannot be self-supporting and have to look for sponsorship.

Besides, the Appendix 5.4 of the Report prepared by “August 23. National Unity” Union gives specific examples of human rights and freedom of speech protection by media. The Appendix 5.6 developed by the UN Department of Public Information and titled “Information and Freedom are Inseparable”, emphasizes the necessity for ensuring the accessibility of modern information technologies for both rich and poor countries to overcome polarization in this sphere.

This seems to be all that refers to the information environment and media in Armenia. Meanwhile, this part of the Report might have been more significant if it represented also the problems of the right to information, legislative stipulation of freedom of speech, the situation of electronic media, first of all that of independent TV and radio companies, a number of other vital issues that hinder the development of “the fourth estate”.