On May 1, the international human rights organization Freedom House released its annual report on freedom of the press in 2012. “Freedom House” assessed the media situation by assigning a numerical score from 1 to 100 on the following categories: free (1-30 points), partly free (31-60 points), not free (61-100 points) – the lower the score, the higher the freedom. The latter was defined by three dimensions: legal, political and economic environments in which broadcast, print and online media operate. The sum of all three dimensions yielded the cumulative rating of the media situation in each country.
According to Freedom House, the freedom of the press index experienced a global decline in 2012 amid Middle East volatility. Out of 197 countries and territories in 63 (or 32%) media were recognized free, in 70 (or 36%) – partly free and in 64 (or 32%) were rated not free. Only 14% of inhabitants in the world live in countries that enjoy free press, 43%, each, have a partly free or not free press.
The Freedom House study showed that the score of Armenian media improved by 4 points – from 65 (in the years of 2010 and 2011) to 61 points. However, they are still in the same category – “not free”. Freedom House points out several causes for this improvement: media coverage of the parliamentary elections was generally more balanced than in previous election periods; opposition parties made greater use of online media; harassment and violence against journalists declined compared with the last election year; and there was a dramatic reduction in defamation or slander complaints against journalists.
YPC Comment: If the Armenian authorities express readiness to pursue a reform agenda in media field, then in 2013 our media will have all chances to be classified under the “partly free” category, from which they are only one step behind.