On November 18, Yerevan Press Club presented another set of results of the Media Freedom Index (for the period of July – September, 2013) in the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The research is carried out in the framework of the “ENP East Media Freedom Watch” project, which is supported by the European Union and implemented by YPC in cooperation with Internews Ukraine and other partner NGOs from EaP countries. To inform about the situation with media in the six countries, a special website has been launched. The website will also post the results of the Media Freedom Index, as well as the quarterly reports that are based on the study, and will describe the situation with media, providing recommendations for improvement.
The level of media freedom in each of the EaP countries is determined by a joint methodology through expert interviews. Ten experts (journalists, human rights advocates, lawyers, sociologists, public figures) from each country answer a set of 55 questions-criteria. For each question each expert rates the situation in the country by giving scores from 0 to 3 points (0 – the lowest level of media freedom, 3 – the highest). The criteria for assessment are the same for each country. They reflect the experts’ perception about the level of media freedom at the moment of the survey, and describe only the state of freedom of expression and media, regardless of the quality of journalism. The questions are broken into 4 blocks: policy, pursued in the media field (legislation, regulatory mechanisms, etc.); practice (cases of harassment, persecution, access to information, etc.); TV and radio broadcasting (level of independence of TV and radio companies, access to air, etc.); Internet and new media (advance, level of freedom, access, etc.). The expert assessments are summed up and thus the cumulative Media Freedom Index is calculated by a 1-7 numerical score (the higher the score is the better is the media situation).
At the Yerevan meeting with journalists, the YPC presented results of the pilot Index for the period of July 1 – September 30, 2013.
For this period the cumulative rating list is headed by Moldova – index 6 (1,276 points) with Georgia following with – index 5 (1,270 points). The leaders are then followed by Armenia – index 5 (935 points) and Ukraine – index 4 (792 points). The least benign situation with media freedom is in Azerbaijan – index 3 (546 points) and Belarus – index 2 (443 points). Thus, as compared with the previous study (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 2 – 5, 2013) Moldova and Georgia have swapped places, whereas the other countries retained their positions.
As the results for the four components show, in the block “Politics” Georgia has index 7, Armenia’s index is 6, the index of Moldova and Ukraine is 5, Azerbaijan’s index is 4 and the index of Belarus is 2. The leaders of the block “Practice” are Moldova and Georgia (index 6), followed by Armenia and Ukraine (index 4), Armenia and Ukraine (index 4), Azerbaijan and Belarus (index 2). Moldova led the block “TV and Radio Broadcasting” with index 6, followed by Georgia (index 5), Armenia and Ukraine – index 3, Azerbaijan and Belarus – index 2. Also in the “Internet and New Media” block Moldova became the leader with index 7. Georgia and Armenia have index 6, Ukraine – index 5, Azerbaijan -index 3 and Belarus – index 1.