Freedom House, which releases an annual report ranking countries based on “Freedom on the Net” has ranked Armenia in eighth place, just after the United States.
The report entitled, “Freedom on the Net 2019: The Crisis of Social Media,” listed Armenia as the leader of freedom on the net in Eurasian countries.
In the report, countries receiving a score of 70 to 100 are considered free, those between 40 and 69 are partly free and countries in the lower range of 0 to 39 are not considered free. The Freedom House report gave Armenia a score of 76 out of 100, surpassing France, Italy and Japan among others. Iceland was ranked first “for having registered no civil or criminal cases against users expression during the coverage period.”
Azerbaijan and Turkey were ranked in the “not free” category with scores of 39 and 37 respectively.
“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 said. “In particular, violence against online journalists declined, and the digital news media enjoyed greater freedom from economic and political pressures.”
The report cited the developments in Armenia in 2018 as signal that that digital technology can help generate dramatic democratic changes.
“Citizens effectively used social media platforms, communications apps and live streaming to advance the largely peaceful Velvet Revolution…” the report said. “The new government has since promised to tackle systemic corruption and enhance transparency and the rule of law.”