Armenia has significantly improved the state of press freedom in the past year, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.
After the “velvet revolution," the country has jumped 19 places to 61st among 180 countries in the world rankings in 2019, RSF's annual World Press Freedom Index revealed on Thursday, April 18.
The “velvet revolution” has loosened the government’s grip on TV channels, the report says.
In April-May 2018, tens of thousands of Armenians took to the streets to demand the resignation of former authorities. In the wake of the civil disobedience campaign, then Prime Minister and ex-President Serzh Sargsyan resigned, while opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was ultimately elected the country’s new PM.
“The new media served as an echo chamber for the “velvet revolution” in the spring of 2018 that brought a former journalist to power. The media landscape is diverse but polarized and the editorial policies of the main TV channels coincide with the interests of their owners. In other words, journalistic independence and transparent media ownership continue to be major challenges,” RSF maintains.
“The new government must try to recover the opportunities that were lost in the transition to digital TV, which has paradoxically restricted the number of regional channels. Investigative journalism, which is flourishing online, is well placed to play a major role in a national offensive against corruption.”
Neighboring Azerbaijan, meanwhile, has plunged three notches to take the 166th spot, while Georgie comes in the 60th.