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World Press Freedom Day report: AEJ Armenia again slams anti-media violence, restrictions and interference

The AEJ Armenian Section of AEJ has published its 2013 annual report, pointing to persistent problems of violence against journalists, improper pressures and speculative lawsuits as the main challenges facing reporters and news outlets in Armenia.

The State of Media Freedom in Armenia 2013: Core Problems and Challenges is an online book in both English and Armenian, Compiled with the support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the Report gives an overview of the operational restrictions on Armenian news outlets, focusing especially on legislative regulation, physical violence, and court cases based on charges of slander and insult.

Regarding such lawsuits the authors are cautiously positive, noting that in 2013 the courts handed down verdicts that, by and large, have been favorable in terms of reporter and news outlet freedom. As before, however, acts of physical violence committed against reporters and interference in their activities revealed in the study are of serious concern. 

These challenges to legitimate press freedom appear in the form of physical assaults, pressure tactics and lawsuits filed against them. Other challenges to the development of the media sector in Armenia include lack of diversity of media ownership and unhealthy competition, a shrinking print media sector due to technological advances and  lack of professionalism in the practice of journalism.Lianna Sayadyan, the representative of AEJ-Armenia, in collaboration with another media organization “Journalists for the future”, also co-authored a book about New Media entitled “The best in the NET”.

To mark the publication Lianna Sayadyan delivered a speech outlining the realities of the Armenian media landscape to journalism students of Yerevan State University, and discussed the range of current issues with the journalists of the future.