WASHINGTON, DC — The Freedom House has ranked Armenia as a “free” country in its annual Freedom on the Net 2019: The Crisis of Social Media report.
Armenia’s neighbor Georgia is also a “free” country, while Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran are ranked as “not free.”
“In Armenia, positive changes unleashed by the 2018 Velvet Revolution continued, with reformist prime minister Nikol Pashinyan presiding over a reduction in restrictions on content and violations of users’ rights,” the report reads.
Last year, Armenia rose from Partly Free to Free after citizens successfully used social media platforms, communication apps, and live-streaming services to bring about political change in the country’s Velvet Revolution in April.
The report emphasizes that violence against online journalists declined, and the digital news media enjoyed greater freedom from economic and political pressures.
“Developments in Armenia in 2018 demonstrated once again that digital technology can help generate dramatic democratic change. Citizens effectively used social media platforms, communications apps, and live streaming to advance the largely peaceful Velvet Revolution, forcing the resignation of longtime leader Serzh Sargsyan and ushering in Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister. This in turn cleared the way for snap national elections in December 2018 that represented a clear improvement over previous polls. The new government has since promised to tackle systemic corruption and enhance transparency and the rule of law,” the Freedom House said.