Freedom House notes progress in the freedom of press in Armenia

The Freedom House published its annual report on May 1, 2013. The Freedom of the Press 2013 found that despite positive developments in Burma, the Caucasus, parts of West Africa, and elsewhere, the dominant trend was one of setbacks in a range of political settings. Reasons for decline included the increasingly sophis­ticated repression of independent journalism and new media by authoritarian regimes; the ripple effects of the European economic crisis and longer-term challenges to the financial sustainability of print media; and ongoing threats from nonstate actors such as radical Islamists and organized crime groups.

Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2012, a total of 63 (32 percent) were rated Free, 70 (36 percent) were rated Partly Free, and 64 (32 percent) were rated Not Free. The analysis found that less than 14 percent of the world’s inhabitants lived in countries with a Free press, while 43 percent had a Partly Free press and 43 percent lived in Not Free environments.

The report notes improvement in the freedom of press in Armenia. “Armenia’s political rights rating improved due to the absence of postelection violence following parliamentary balloting in May and the entry of an authentic opposition party into the legislature,” the report reads.

This year Armenia has improved its position with 4 points and received 61 points against 65 in the previous report. Armenia currently lacks just one point to appear among the Partly Free countries.

According to the report, Nagorno-Karabakh’s political rights rating improved from 6 to 5, and its status improved from Not Free to Partly Free, due to the participation of a genuine opposition in the July presidential election.”

Georgia’s political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to the country’s first peaceful handover of power to an opposition party after parliamentary elections that were judged  free and fair by international observers and featured more pluralistic media coverage.

Turkey’s civil liberties rating declined from 3 to 4 due to the pretrial detention of thousands of individuals—including Kurdish activists, journalists, union leaders, students, and military officers—in campaigns that many believe to be politically motivated.

Azerbaiajn’s rating has also declined connected with violence against journalists, and legislative changes restricting the freedom of information.

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