ArmInfo. 2021 has become a tense period for the Armenian media due to the deep socio-political crisis in post-war Armenia and the fierce struggle for early parliamentary elections. This is stated in the official statement of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression.
It is reported that in 2021 there were numerous cases of pressure and restrictions against journalists, including with the use of legal mechanisms. In particular, the beginning of the work of the National Assembly of the 8th convocation was accompanied by severe restrictions on the movement of media representatives in parliament.
The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression reports that during the reporting period, a total of 18 cases of physical violence were recorded (against 6 in 2020) in relation to the media, as a result of which 20 journalists and cameramen suffered (versus 11 in 2020), the number of various pressures exerted on the media reached 107 (instead of 177 last year). With regard to new lawsuits against journalists and the media on the basis of libel and insult, it is noted that 60 new cases have been registered this year. "This trend is of particular concern against the backdrop of legislative changes initiated by the authorities," the report says. Thus, on March 24, the National Assembly adopted Alen Simonyan's bill, according to which, in accordance with Article 1087.1 of the RA Civil Code, the maximum amount of monetary compensation for insult and slander has tripled. And on August 30, the law "On Amendments to the RA Criminal Code" came into force, which criminalized the so-called "serious insult".
The situation is also not satisfactory in terms of ensuring the right to receive and disseminate information. During the year, 99 violations were recorded (against 90 last year).
In this regard, in the opinion of the Committee, the decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia of December 9, according to which it is envisaged not to publish information on official visits, flights and related expenses on the govtravel.am website, is also of concern. Moreover, another project is under discussion, according to which it is proposed not to disclose business trips of officials and other data on the e-gov.am website.