Regarding Nikol Pashinian’s Election as Prime Minister of Armenia: journalistic organizations call for reforms in the sphere of media and freedom of information
We, the undersigned organizations, congratulate Nikol Pashinian on his election and assumption of office of the Prime Minister of Armenia. We hope that the new Government will carry out fundamental reforms in the country.
The sphere of media and freedom of information also needs such reformation. The recently adopted legal provisions groundlessly restrict the transparency of the RA Government activities, its accountability, and violate the fundamental right to receive and disseminate information.
These are, for example, the amendments and supplements to RA Law “On the Structure and Activities of the Government” and the RA Law “On Local Self-Government in the City of Yerevan” adopted on May 23, 2018. The first document envisages conduct of Government sessions behind closed doors. The second one creates obstacles for the coverage of Yerevan Council of Elders sessions by the media. With the December 2015 amendments to the RA Law “On Procurement” the procurement related to the activities of the country’s three top officials (Prime Minister, President and Speaker of the National Assembly) is classified as state secret, which may lead to corruption risks.
We have been raising for decades the issue of the broadcast sector, pointing out that the RA Law “On Television and Radio” must be fundamentally revised and the relationship in that field must be reformed. However, our expert opinion and legislative proposals were, as a rule, ignored, since the authorities sought to maintain the status quo in the sphere under their control. All the flaws of the Armenian TV air became particularly evident during the Velvet Revolution, especially in the first week of the coverage of the events.
Media sphere is also facing a number of other serious challenges: issues of concentration and ownership transparency of the media, politicized advertising field, a number of cases of unpunished physical pressure on journalists and obstruction to their legitimate professional activities, etc.
We express readiness to actively participate in the legislative and practical reformation of the sphere of media and freedom of information using all our experience and knowledge. We propose to the newly-elected Prime Minister to organize a meeting for a detailed discussion of the above-mentioned issues and their possible solutions.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE”
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”
GORIS PRESS CLUB