On March 20, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published the European Neighbourhood Policy Country Progress Report 2012-Armenia. The report is an assessment of the EU-Armenia ENP Action Plan implementation within January 1 – December 31, 2012.
A part of the report reflects on the situation with freedom of expression in Armenia. Particularly, the report stresses that the media independence remained insufficient. The RA Law “On Television and Radio”, amended several times, “continued to raise concerns about media pluralism”. According to the progress report, the legal basis for possible withdrawal of broadcasting licenses is currently too broad, which may lead to arbitrariness. The Armenian authorities have not taken any further steps to reform legislation in order to adequately protect media outlets against politically biased abuses in civil defamation cases, the report emphasizes. At the same time, the report mentions relative diversity in print media and some progress in broadcast media, particularly with “ArmNews” TV channel devoting air to the newscast of the opposition-related “A1+” TV channel, whose license had been revoked in 2002. The OSCE/ODIHR media monitoring, implemented during the parliamentary elections, found that “all major political parties generally had access to the media”.
Among the recommendations made for the ENP 2013 Action Plan, the authors of the report suggest amending the Law “On Television and Radio” in line with the OSCE and CoE recommendations, as well as ensuring media pluralism.