Armenia lifts emergency media restrictions

Agence France Presse
March 13, 2008 Thursday

Armenia lifts emergency media restrictions


Ex-Soviet Armenia on Thursday lifted some media restrictions imposed
under a state of emergency earlier this month but continued a ban on
public protests.

President Robert Kocharian signed a decree lifting an order on the
media to only broadcast or publish information from official sources
as of Friday, the presidential administration said in a statement.

But he left in force a measure banning the publication of "obviously
false information about the government and internal political
questions or information that will destabilise the situation."

A ban on public demonstrations also remained in place.

The 20-day state of emergency was declared on March 1 after eight
people died in street battles between riot police and opposition
supporters in the capital Yerevan. The violence also injured dozens,
many from gunshot wounds.

Police arrested more than 50 people in connection with the unrest,
which broke out after riot police moved to disperse opposition
protesters who had rallied for 11 days against the result of a
presidential election officially won by Prime Minister Serzh

Opposition supporters claim the election was rigged to ensure
Sarkisian’s victory over former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, though
foreign observers said the vote was mostly in line with international

The mountainous country of about three million people — wedged
between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Turkey — has seen repeated
political violence and post-election protests since gaining its
independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.