“Economist” misinformed readers.March 2008 and armenian blogs.

“Economist” published an article “Authoritarian governments can lock up bloggers. It is harder to outwit them” where there is a section about Armenia. Unfortunately in the passage listed below there is misinformation about governmental restriction on the blog activities during the state of emergency.

“It was the same story in Armenia in March, where the president, Robert Kocharian, ended his term in office with a media blackout that, supposedly, extended to blogs (self-published websites which typically contain the author’s personal observations and opinions). Like all other outlets, the authorities said, blogs could publish government news only. The result was a soaring number of blogs hosted on servers outside Armenia—all sharply critical of the authorities.”

I’ve found nice post about blogs activities in Armenia during emergency time from here 

 Hope,they will change information posted in article on the right one,



Filed under armenia, armenian elections, Democracy, world

7 responses to ““Economist” misinformed readers.March 2008 and armenian blogs.

  1. thanx for the link to the Economist article!

    …and nice blog, by the way!

  2. Pingback: Armenia & the South Caucasus | The Caucasian Knot » Blog Archive » The Economist: Blogging, Global Voices Online & Armenia

  3. You don’t indicate what you consider the minsinformation to be.

    However, you’re right. It was a media lawyer that determined blogs to fall within the scope of the state of emergency restrictions and not the government which is how the article reads.

    Also, not all were “sharply critical” etc. Anyway, another article on blogging during this period by yours truly is at:


  4. realarmenia

    Dear Onnik
    The article in ArmeniaNow completely neglect the fact of the presence LiveJournal community where most of armenian bloggers are registered.
    May be the reason of not mentioning such a well-known blogs like ahousekeer,bekaisa,uzogh,kornelij,aramazd,pigh,akunamatata-ser and etc. was that they are posting in Russian language?
    Anyway,your article is much more trustful than the “Economist”s one.
    Real Armenia

  5. Hi Real Armenia,

    I suppose the point of my article is not who wrote what and where or in what language. It was, however, meant to indicate what were some of the most notable aspects of the state of emergency and in particular the information war between radical opposition and government supporters (I certainly didn’t declare one in the majority over the other), the fact that blogs were the main sources of information for that period and the blocking of YouTube as well its use by A1 Plus.

    In an interview with Artur Papyan (Observer) the issue of Russian-language blogs and how they mainly were against Ter-Petrossian also came up () and before leaving for the GV Budapest summit I met with Uzogh, Pigh and Akunamata_Ser to discuss the Russian language blogosphere. However, it has been featured and mentioned by myself and Observer on GV although I admit that not nearly enough and this was an oversight.

    On the other hand, as Artur (Observer) explained, the English-language blogosphere was most distinct and a broad spectrum of views was offered via GV.

    GV: How would you say the number of blogs was affected by the recent presidential election in Armenia and especially in the post-election state of emergency situation?

    AP: The number of Armenian language blogs tripled and although there were very few new ones in other languages, several English language blogs became more active to a phenomenal extent. There were also at least 80 new Russian-language registrations in LiveJournal which was something like a 10 percent increase. Many of those blogs were “zombies” or anonymous blogs which were effectively set up for propaganda purposes, perhaps even with the support of the authorities, and made it onto my infamous ‘blacklist.’

    However, there is again no sure way of measuring so all these figures should just be taken as my personal estimate and treated with some caution.

    GV: It’s been said that the Russian-language Armenian blogosphere mainly opposed the return of the first and former president to the political scene in time for the election. Blogs in other languages were more supportive. Do you agree with that assessment?

    AP: Well, there was a poll carried out among LiveJournal users and other candidates such as Vazgen Manukyan and Vahan Hovhannisyan came out on top, followed by Levon Ter-Petrossian [first president] and Serzh Sargsyan [the new president]. However, it should be understood that LiveJournal works very much as a large single forum and its members influence each other greatly so it became not “cool” to support Sargsyan. Even so, Levon Ter-Petrossian supporters were few, but they were active.

    Others who were very anti-Levon, neutral or pro-Serzh instead became pro-Vazgen or Pro-Vahan and started to see these two candidates as a counterbalance to Levon Ter-Petrossian. Hence the phrase “ anti-Levon” is not quite right. Instead I’d say many Russian-language bloggers became pro-alternative-candidates. That’s what LiveJournal looked like, but after the violent clashes on 1 March most of those blogs [on LiveJournal] consolidated and became mostly anti-Levon.


    On the other hand, the style of blogging on LiveJournal (very short posts, single photos and already published articles) has not impressed me so much. That said, there has been more activity now and I’ve given Pigh, Uzogh etc the option of becoming GV authors so as to properly represent the community. Not sure if they’ll take it up, but GV relies on volunteer authors and translators as well as general editors such as myself.

    However, I have linked or referred to blogs run by pigh, bekaisa etc in the past. The trouble, however, is not just the need for translation, but also lack of quotable content. I’ve started to look at Pigh’s blog more closely, however.

    And I have to be honest, as Caucasus Regional Editor my main concern at present is outreach to Georgian and Azerbaijani bloggers. Even so, yes, I know I now have to find authors willing to compile the occasional digest of Russian-language blog roundups. Anyone interested, contact me via my blog (same is true for Azerbaijan/Georgia).

  6. realarmenia

    Hi Onnik
    Thanks for more detailed information.
    I read LJ bloggers because most of them live in Armenia and more involved in what is going on here. That’s why for me information I am getting from LG is much more trustful than from some living abroad english-writing bloggers.
    For the same reason I prefer to read your and ditord’s blogs.

  7. Real Armenia, I think there is one problem that we have. That is, like in actual politics, the whole Armenian blogosphere is polarized with neither necessarily representing the views of the majority.

    The problem is that it is a certain type of person who is blogging from inside or outside Armenia and not necessarily those representing the majority population.

    Another interest of mine, therefore, would be to try to get tools into the hands of those others as well as non-politicized elements who might be tired of both sides.

    At the moment, however, those blogging are either activists, journalists or local civil society workers. I’m wondering about the other voices.

    Anyway, let’s see what will be.


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