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Mass media in Armenia struggling with impeding problems

17 October 2014 [15:05] - TODAY.AZ


By Mushvig Mehdiyev

Mass media in Armenia is suffering from tough financial problems. Various media outlets in the country are struggling with financial and political pressures, as well as the police violation and many other challenges.

Editor in chief of Armenian Hraparak newspaper Armine Ohanyan said the financial crisis in Armenia is seriously hampering the progress of media.

"Commercial activities is no longer beneficial in Armenia. High-pace emigration, lack of newspaper buyers and advertisers have directly affected our financial conditions," she noted.

Ohanyan said the second problem of the media in Armenia is the harsh behavior of political elite and state officials. Instead of providing the needed help, they put obstacles in the way of media progress, she added.

A journalist was recently beaten by the security head of the National Congress. The chief security guard broke the camera of the journalist and threatened her to death. Police, as usual, eliminated the criminal case against the civil servant saying the case lacked enough evidence.

"Meanwhile, the universities in Armenia don't prepare good journalists and there is no self-improvement among the journalists. Lack of the human resources is the media's third problem," Ohanyan noted.

The current economic crisis is reaching day by day its climax in Armenia. It affects almost every fields like a multi-armed octopus. The tough slump paves the way for sustainable deterioration of each employees' social condition in the ex-Soviet state regardless of their profession.

Moreover, the education system in Armenia fails to meet the modern standards with its outdated pedagogical activities. Poor technical advancements contributes to the incomplete education trend in the former Soviet state.

Head of the Zoghovurd newspapaer Tagui Tovmasyan said the media in Armenia is now facing more problems than before. "Newspapers in Armenia is not anymore accepted as the main source of information. The number of the print media is decreasing due to financial problems," he added.

Tovmasyan added that one third of Armenian citizens could introduce himself or herself as a journalist. "Internet has allowed the journalists to appear like mushrooms springing up after the rain," he said.

Financial dependence of the media outlets is reportedly underlined as the main impediment in the way of their development. Azg newspaper's Head Akop Avetikyan said the financial problems have deprived the media of their freedom.

Freedom of expression lives its hardest days in Armenia. Coercive supervision of the ruling elite over the mass media has disabled their normal activity. The Freedom House reported that most of the media in Armenia are controlled by the government or government-affiliated individuals. The internet penetration rate in the country was 46 percent in 2013.

Police are viewed as the main violators of journalist rights in Armenia. Dozens of cases of violence against journalists occur each year. Human rights defenders and journalists have repeatedly claim that police do not carry out a proper investigation into rights violations.

The investigators in Armenia "love" to call off the criminal cases with their favorite expression of "lack of corpus delicti." It subsequently gives the police a green light to go ahead with further violence.


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