Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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Access to Information for Journalists

11.04.2008

Freedom of Information Center published the survey results on the Access to Information for Journalists carried out within 105 media representatives. See the full text of the survey here.

For this purpose, 105 journalists have been interviewed (60 journalists representing Yerevan-based media, 40 journalists representing media operating in the marzes and 4 journalists representing foreign media working in Armenia).

The journalists mentioned that the access to official information is a serious problem in the country. Though the officials accept that providing information is their duty in practice the access to the state information is still insufficient. The biggest obstacle, according to journalists, is the mentality of state officials. Many journalists note that officials consider the information they possess to be their private property and treat it in any way they want (62%).

The next obstacle to the access of information is the absence of mechanisms in the state bodies for disposing information (54.2%). Another part 44% mentioned that the journalists are not aware of their rights at all. 38 journalists (or 36%) said that the lack of legal procedures is an obstacle for the provision of information.

The journalists mentioned that the access of information right is applied to everybody but the officials sometimes put discriminations on citizens and journalists (102 journalists or 97%). The notion of discrimination is even felt with the different media representatives also.

When naming open or closed state bodies 46% of the 105 interviewed journalists think that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the most open and transparent agency that has clear procedures for providing information and an effective style of working with journalists. The National Security Service (38%) was named to be the most closed agency where access to information is difficult.

Local government bodies, which should have been the most accessible and open to the public, are some of the most closed bodies, according to journalists. Only 23% of the interviewed journalists think that it is easy to get information from city district administrations.

Most often, journalists complain about illegal refusals to provide information to the supervisors of the officials in question (62%).29 journalists (or 27.6%) trust the courts with restoring their violated rights, while 15 persons (or 14.2%) go to the RA Human Rights Defender.

The Research was conducted by Freedom of Information Center of Armenia supported by Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The project director is the president of the Freedom of Information Center Shushan Doydoyan.

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