ArmInfo.Armenia was ranked 63rd in the Press Freedom Index according to the press support organization "Reporters Without Borders", thus entering the list of brown countries (notable problems).
This is stated in the report on the website of the organization. The Covid-19 pandemic's lasting impact on press freedom, unprecedented crackdowns on reporters covering protests, and a war in the Caucasus, in which at least seven journalists were injured and reporting was obstructed, all helped to keep Eastern Europe and Central Asia in second from last position in the 2021 Index's ranking of regions.
This year's index, which evaluates the press freedom situation in 180 countries and territories annually, shows that journalism, journalism, which is arguably the best vaccine against the virus of disinformation, is totally blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others, which together represent 73% of the countries evaluated. These countries are classified as having "very bad," "bad" or "problematic" environments for press freedom, and are identified accordingly in black, red or orange on the World Press Freedom map.
In many states, restrictions on the work of journalists were imposed under the pretext of combating the spread of the coronavirus, according to the RSF report. The study shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists around the world to investigate and cover sensitive topics, especially in Asia and the Middle East, but also in Europe, the report said. Disinformation or fake news that misleads the public has become a significant problem.
Norway is ranked first in the Index for the fifth year running even though its media have complained of a lack of access to state-held information about the pandemic. Finland maintained its position in second place while Sweden (up 1 at 3rd) recovered its third place ranking, which it had yielded to Denmark (down 1 at 4th) last year. The 2021 Index demonstrates the success of these Nordic nations' approach towards upholding press freedom.
This year, only 12 of the Index's 180 countries (7%) can claim to offer a favourable environment for journalism, as opposed to 13 countries (8%) last year. The country to have been stripped of its "good" classification is Germany (down 2 at 13th). Dozens of its journalists were attacked by supporters of extremist and conspiracy theory believers during protests against pandemic restrictions.
In another 36 countries, press freedom is considered normal (Yellow List). There are serious problems in 59 countries (Brown List). The situation is bad in 51 countries (Red List). Finally, in 20 countries, the situation with freedom of the press is extremely difficult (Black List). At the very bottom of the "Index" are Turkmenistan (178), North Korea (179) and Eritrea (180). These countries retain absolute control over news and information. So, the first two countries do not report anything about cases of COVID-19, and the latter still does not explain the fate of a dozen journalists arrested 20 years ago. Europe and America (North and South) remain continents with the most favorable press freedom indicators remain Eastern Europe and Central Asia remain in the penultimate place in their region, mainly due to events in Belarus (158th place), where there was an unprecedented repression of journalists in order to hide the scale of protests against the announced presidential election results. In a number of countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there have been "experiments" to completely block the Internet using the software of multinational corporations such as Allot and Sandvine. In the Caucasus, this happened in Azerbaijan (167th place) during the fall of 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The rampant censorship of some governments was aimed at controlling information, as in Russia (150th place, -1). There, independent media outlets have come under intense pressure for months to combat false information from authorities about how the Covid-19 pandemic is progressing. Neighboring Georgia is in 60th place, and is among the countries on the Brown List. The closest neighbors of Azerbaijan are Tajikistan (162), Iraq (163), Libya (164), Egypt (166). Azerbaijan is ahead of Saudi Arabia (171), Syria (174), China (177). Published since 2002, the Press Freedom Index is the main tool for protecting journalists. This is a reflection of the situation with freedom of the media, based on an assessment of pluralism, media independence, legislation and the protection of journalists in the country.