Russian Media Law Institute published a report “On the Media-Related Legislation in the Countries of CIS and Baltic States”. The purpose of the study is to determine the development level of the national legislative frameworks in the context of legal guarantees of mass communication freedom. The report covers the period of June 12, 1990 (when the USSR Law “On Press and Other Media Outlets” was adopted and, in the opinion of the researchers, set the grounds for the freedom of expression and press in the post-Soviet countries) up to now.
The comparative analysis the CIS countries and Baltic states was made along 21 sections, starting from constitutional provisions up to norms that regulate the issues of professional activity (protection of information sources, media production export and import, restrictions on advertising, etc).
The level of the media in a specific country was assessed by a 11-unit scale and along the following criteria: constitutional provision for media freedom and the prohibition of censorship; the presence of laws on media, TV and radio broadcasting, public service broadcasting; protection of professional rights of journalists; the nature of procedure for media registration; restrictions on foreign ownership of media; linguistic requirements; absence of criminal libel and/or insult and separately – officials.
None of the 15 countries of the former USSR received maximal number of points (11). The rating list is headed by Estonia (9 points), followed by Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine (7 units each) – where, according to the research, the level of media regulation is high.
Armenia, along with Latvia and Tajikistan was among countries with medium level of media legislation (5 units each). The same group also includes our neighbors in South Caucasus – Azerbaijan and Georgia that scored 4 units each, similarly to Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan.
A lower lever of legal regulation media is taken by Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (3 units each). The last place of the rating is taken by Turkmenistan (2 units).