YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


STATE DEPARTMENT OF THE USA EVALUATING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS IN ARMENIA

On February 26 the US State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for year 2000, prepared by the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

The report on Armenia, in particular, the section on freedom of speech and press, characterizes the situation for the past year in the following way: "The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; however, while the Government generally respects freedom of speech, there are some limits on freedom of the press, and journalists practice self-censorship. There is no official censorship, publications present a variety of views, and the opposition press regularly criticizes government policies and leaders, including the President, on sensitive issues such as the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and privatization."

Among the negative phenomena the report mentions, in particular: the 1-year suspended sentence of Nikol Pashinian, the Chief Editor of "Oragir" daily; the absence of legal action announcements regarding the beatings of "Haikakan Zhamanak" staff and the arson at the office of "Novoye Vremya" newspaper; the limited resources and small newspaper circulations, dependence of the newspapers of patronage from economic or political interest group and individuals; significant influence of the President’s Office upon the state television news coverage; the inadequacy of the broadcast law, etc.

The complete report of the US State Department on human right practices in Armenia can be viewed at: www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/eur/index.cfm?docid=672