By Emilio Luciano Cricchio
Armenia’s internet freedom ranking has declined by four points in the 2021 “Freedom on the Net” report, an annual publication from the international human rights organization Freedom House. Nonetheless, Armenia was once again classified as a “free country” in terms of internet freedom.
The Freedom on the Net report assesses different countries throughout the world based on internet freedom in three main areas: obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights.
Compared to last year, Armenia saw a drop from 75 points to 71 points, on a 100 point scale.
The report stipulated that the decline of internet freedom in Armenia was due to regulations on the free flow of information adopted by the government during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The report mentioned that the implementation of martial law in late September 2020 placed severe restrictions on the media’s ability to report on the events of the war and allowed the authorities to demand the removal of content. Non-compliance fines were also issued.
“The government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has promised to deal with long-term issues, including systemic corruption, non-transparent policy development, a flawed electoral system, and weak rule of law. Despite the government’s reformist stance, concerns about political interference in the judiciary and unfriendly rhetoric towards the media persist,” the report reads.
In the rest of the region, Georgia too was classified as a “free country” with 77 points. Azerbaijan garnered 35 points, Turkey garnered 34 points and Iran garnered 16 points. All three countries were classified as “not free” in terms of internet freedom.