Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Status change explanation: Armenia's rating declined from Partly Free to Not Free as a result of the government's repeated use of security or criminal libel laws to stifle criticism, as well as the forced closing of the country's leading independent television station.

Freedom of the press declined in Armenia as a result of the closing of the country's leading independent television station, and the government's continued attempts to stifle criticism in the media. Article 24 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the press. However, the government acts to limit these rights in practice. National security legislation and criminal libel laws allow the state to prosecute journalists for any perceived infraction. Journalists frequently experience physical assaults and other forms of intimidation in relation to their work. In late 2002, a reporter investigating the government's 1999 assault on the parliament building suffered serious injuries from a grenade attack. Law enforcement officials often decline to prosecute attacks against journalists. Most media outlets seek sponsorship from powerful business or political interests. These interests frequently exercise de facto editorial control over content and foster a climate of self-censorship among journalists. In April, the National Commission on Television and Radio transferred the broadcast frequency of A1+, the leading independent television station, to an entertainment company with reported links to the government. Often critical of the government, A1+ did not resume broadcasting in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections.