YPC Weekly Newsletter

2002


THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS DISSEMINATED AN ANNUAL SURVEY ON ATTACKS ON PRESS

The well-known American organization, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) disseminated the annual worldwide survey “Attacks on the Press” in 2001.

The section on Armenia noted, in particular, that last year dire economic conditions, minuscule print runs and the underdeveloped advertising market proved to be the greatest obstacle for the independent media. In the opinion of CPJ, this resulted in self-censorship exercise by journalists and slanted reporting “in exchange for the financial support of wealthy patrons”. The survey mentions that the polarized politics, flawed legislation as well as the criminal prosecution for libel impede the establishment of independent media in Armenia. The President of the country and his supporters, according to CPJ survey, retain control of leading media outlets, including the only nationally broadcast channel, while the political opponents of Robert Kocharian control only a few publications. The situation around the RA Law “On Television and Radio” is quoted as an example of imperfect legislation: the 45-minute broadcast stoppage by the Armenian TV and radio stations, the recognition of some of the provisions of the Law unconstitutional, the submission of proposed amendments by Yerevan Press Club, Internews-Armenia and Journalists Union of Armenia to the Parliament, etc.

Among the negative incidents that happened to the Armenian journalists and media in 2001, the report mentions the demand of the National Scout Movement to start a legal action against “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily, the harassment of “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” newspaper, the arson of a bus-workshop of a free-lance journalist Vahagn Ghukasian, as well as the interruption of broadcasts of “Ashtarak TV”.