PARIS (Armradio) — Armenia is ranked 61st in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders today. Last year it was ranked 80th.

Georgia is placed just ahead of Armenia at 60th, Russia is 149th, Turkey and Azerbaijan are ranked 157th and 166th respectively. Armenia’s southern neighbor Iran is 170th in the list.

Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark are ranked as the countries with the highest degree of freedom for journalists.

According to the report, “the new media served as an echo chamber for the “velvet revolution” in the spring of 2018 that brought a former journalist [Nikol Pashinyan] to power.”

The study notes, however, that “the media landscape is diverse but polarized and the editorial policies of the main TV channels coincide with the interests of their owners.”

“Journalistic independence and transparent media ownership continue to be major challenges. The new government must try to recover the opportunities that were lost in the transition to digital TV, which has paradoxically restricted the number of regional channels,” Reporters Without Borders said.

At the same time, the organization urges the government to refrain from any excesses in its attempts to combat “fake news”.

“Its use of the security services for this purpose, followed by a social network user’s arrest, prompted concern. Investigative journalism, which is flourishing online, is well placed to play a major role in a national offensive against corruption.”

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index shows how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.

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