NEW YORK — The international human rights watchdog Freedom House has published its Freedom in the World 2012 report, rating Armenia as a partly free country.
According to Eurasianet, the document suggests the existence of some stagnation, with Political Freedom and Civil Liberties remaining unchanged from last year for Armenia, and its South Caucasus neighbors – Azerbaijan and Georgia – which were classified as not free and partially free countries, respectively.
Citing the country records, the website reports that Azerbaijan continued to take the flak for roughshod treatment of the media and political critics. But sitting on an embarrassment of hydrocarbon wealth, the country is in no hurry to change its ways. Behind the maquillage of spruced-up buildings and streets in Baku, rights groups see a ruling political dynasty plagued by rampant nepotism and corruption.
The report found the Armenian government to be too busy with domestic political battles and constant exchange with Azerbaijan to let its press go fully free. Save for a few exceptions, the national airwaves are essentially controlled by the establishment, the New-York City-based Committee to Protest Journalists attested in 2011, Eurasianet further reported, citing the document.
Author of ‘Freedom in the World 2012: The Arab Uprisings and Their Global Repercussions’ report Arch Puddington says that in 2011 “the political uprisings that swept across the Arab world over the past year represent the most significant challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. Whereas many countries, Armenia among them, have registered no progress, ending up in the stagnation phase.”
According to the methodology of the report, a ‘partly free’ country is one in which there is limited respect for political rights and civil liberties. Partly Free states frequently suffer from an environment of corruption, weak rule of law and a political landscape in which a single party enjoys dominance despite a certain degree of pluralism.
The authors of the report have registered deteriorating tendencies particularly in Azerbaijan and Turkey.