Armenia - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Population||3.2 m (2008)|
|Area||29. 800 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€1.7 bn (2006) (34%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€0.6 bn (2006) (39%)|
|GDP per capita||€1.198 (2006)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||60 (2007)|
|Languages||Armenian, Yezidi, Russian|
Censorship is prohibited under a 2004 media law, paving a legal path toward press freedom. But the American NGO Freedom House reports that self-censorship is common in Armenia - particularly in coverage of corruption, security and the Nagorno-Karabakh situation.
Libel and defamation are punishable by prison terms. Journalists have been sentenced under these laws.
Newspapers are not seen as the primary source of news in Armenia. Press runs are small. Most publications are financed by wealthy individuals or political parties.
The written press is financially weak and has limited influence compared to Armenian television, Freedom House reports. Many newspapers or magazines have a ‘sponsor’ which expects certain points of view to be expressed. This results in self-censorship. Journalists often write the articles they think are going to be published, in order to avoid being laid off. ‘Ordered articles’ and indirect advertising are common practice. Ordered articles usually appear with the sign “R” on them, indicating that the author was paid to write the article. This practice happens in large part due to the bad financial landscape dominating media businesses.
Yet, for those who are socially and politically active, there is a diverse media landscape to be discovered.
Independent, national papers include Haykakan Zhamanak, a social/political daily newspaper, Aravot, 168 Zham, Iravunk. Azg daily and Yerkir are also well-read newspapers, but are dependent on political parties. The circulation of these papers is low. The largest paper has a circulation of 8.000 copies.
Next to these newspapers, there are around 20 well-known periodicals on the Armenian market. These include Hayastani Hanrapetutyun, Golos Armenii, Hayots Ashkar, Novoe Vremya and Respublika Armenia. Of note is that all national newspapers have a different volume, publication frequency and circulation – but share the same cost, 100 drams (around €0.20).
The news agency Armenpress is a closed joint stock company, with all stocks held by the Armenian government. Armenpress releases daily messages on virtually every topic of the day in three languages (English, Russian and Armenian).
PanArmenia.Net website was founded by “PanARMENIAN Network” NGO and is owned by “PanARMENIAN Media” LLC. The mission of PanARMENIAN.Net is the establishment of a pan-Armenian common information field and adequate presentation of Armenia to the world community. PanARMENIAN News, formed on the base of PanARMENIAN.Net is the first online news agency in Armenia, operating since 2000. PanARMENIAN News provides full information flow on politics, society, economy, culture, sport, IT and telecom, regional and international developments that are directly or indirectly connected with Armenia.
The Noyan Tapan News Information Center is a multimedia information provider. It started as a publishing house, but now encompasses a TV station, a weekly newspaper, a printing house and an advertisement centre.
The fourth news agency in Armenia is Mediamax. It is especially known for its interviews with elite politicians.
Television is the most popular media in Armenia. About 85 percent of the population regularly watches TV. The Armenian television landscape is heavily polarised. There is one independent broadcaster, Gala TV, which airs in Gyumri, the second city of Armenia. Gala TV is regularly hassled by various state institutions with fake legal claims, like bogus notices of tax payment irregularities.Still, Gala TV is the only TV station which ignores government regulations. The First, or H1, is the public channel of Armenia. A partially objective station is Yerkir Media. Armenia TV and H2 are the main national private channels. These compete largely on entertainment content with public channels. Shant TV broadcasts mainly political talk shows.
Radio is mainly a form of entertainment for Armenians. It is not often used as a source for news. Yet, according to locals it is the least politicised medium. For those who look, news from around the world is provided daily, in many languages. Popular stations include Radio Hay, Radio Liberty and Lragir.am.
The weekly magazine Hetq is an investigational journal that publishes online weekly. These articles are later published in print media.
Hetq was the first magazine to adopt a code of ethics, which all its journalists are supposed to follow. In 2004, Hetq magazine was recognised by the Armenian branch of Transparency International for its work against corruption.
Armenia Now also provides independent news from Armenia. Another solid online magazine is Lragir.am
The Armenian blogosphere has been growing. Some noteworthy blogs:
- Armenian Observer Blog - covers politics, sports and economics related to Armenia.
- David Sand
For an overview of blogs, see:
Learning and support
Journalism training in Armenia is divided between Universities and NGOs. Yerevan State University is by locals noted as the best university. It offers a more theoretical programme. Following Yerevan State University, the Armenian-Russian, or Slavonic University, is known to have a good journalism program.
On a non-governmental level, Internews is providing quality journalism training for broadcasters. Next to Internews, the Caucasus Media institute is trying to create a diverse journalism training. Its students come from Armenia and the entire surrounding region. Yet, it is said to be most attractive because of the scholarships it gives out.
The Yerevan Press Club is another training oriented organisation, organising seminars for both journalists and students.
One of the most noteworthy journalism programmes in Armenia is the Journalism Practices Enhancement Project, which is run in conjunction with Media and Law Institute and the European Journalism Centre. It is funded through the Matra Social Transformation Programme, the development arm of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Universities with journalism departments include: Yerevan State University , Armenian-Russian (Slavonic) University, USEL University, Hyusisayin University, Hratchya Acharyan University, Galik University, Management University, and Anania Shirakatsy University.
Armenia knows one journalist union; the Journalist Union of Armenia.
28 Isahakian Street
Tel. (3741) 526-702
Fax. (3741) 526-782
Noyan Tapan Information Analytic Center
28 Isahakian Street
Arshakunyats Avenue 3, third floor
Tel.: +374 105 836 20
Fax: +374 105 690 41