Monday, 3 March 2008

Media blackout in Armenia, Internet is censored

At least two Armenian newspapers - Aravot daily and 168 zham refused to be published under ‘state of emergency’ rules and will resume their work after emergency is lifted. As Aram Abrahamyan, editor of Aravot says, they refuse publishing official information only because in that case they will lose respect of their readers who should have access to balanced coverage, including opposition views and eyewitness accounts. In the meantime, according to Haik Gevorgyan from pro-opposition Haikakan Zhamanak daily, they will defy restrictions and will publish not only official info, because president’s decree on ‘state of emergency’ is “non-constitutional”. Besides, Gevorgyan asks - who defines what constitutes ‘official information'? For example, if they publish opposition Heritage party statement (which has seats in parliament), would it be considered 'official information' or not?

There are also new reports coming out that many independent or pro-opposition internet sites have been blocked in Armenia now. Ditord and reporter-arm will post useful tips and links to blocked sites here

*based mainly on Radio Liberty broadcast


artmika said...

IWPR describes perfectly the situation with media backout in Armenia:

Armenia is under a virtual news blackout because of the state of emergency imposed in Yerevan on March 1, which placed tight restrictions on local media.

As people struggle to form a clear picture of the violence that has shaken the Armenian capital, rumours are circulating rapidly.

Amid the rumour and half-truths, several direct witnesses have given accounts of what they saw to IWPR.

Yerevan residents have resorted to telephoning one another or coming out onto the streets to swap information. Taxi drivers, in particular, have become a good source of “alternative news”.

Internet providers have all but shut down access to two independent sources of information – the websites of Radio Liberty and A1+ television.

Much of the video footage shot during the protests was confiscated by police, but some is being released on the internet, as Armenians exchange information on sites such as Youtube and Facebook.

Rumours that the number of dead was not eight – as officials say - but 40 or even 100 have fuelled anger among opposition supporters already infuriated by official television reports that placed all the blame on the protestors. [...]

artmika said...

Armenians under information blockade

Committee to Protect Journalists: Armenian authorities should immediately free media and internet

Anonymous said...

The thugs who rule Armenia don't want the scrutiny of world opinion, and use the fog of war to hide their brutal actions. The people in Armenia were angry even before the election because they so many were forced to attend pro-Serzh rallies. Even school classes were cancelled and kids marched to attend. It looked good on the state-sponsored TV coverage. Russian stooges were on Armenian television, too, saying that only Serzh was qualified to be president. The many long years of corruption and plundering by Serzh and the greedy incumbents came to a head and resulted in the explosion. In so many ways, Armenia is a failed state, and at least the world got a glimpse of its rotten government before the censorship blackout came down.