February 23
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YEREVAN. – Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan's yesterday statement points to the fact that despite the claims, democracy in Armenia is making a tremendous step backward, deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament Arpine Hovhannisyan wrote on Facebook.

Summing up 100 days of the new government's work, Arpine Hovhannisyan said there are several signals that the freedom of speech is endangered.

First of all, the idea that the Armenian Cabinet has to make decisions unanimously without any vote against is voiced during the government’s sessions, Hovhannisyan said.

“The prime minister is making not targeted statements at the same time targeting ‘anti-state’ activities of the mass media,” she said.

The deputy speaker points to the fact that “in case of any criticism voiced against the new government” there are immediate calls “to say no to the media, while  personal insults against a reporter are voiced”.

“Any different opinion or thought is considered as ‘anti-revolutionary’ and language of hatred appears in social media,” Hovhannisyan said.

“I have had hopes so far that protection of freedom of speech is important for the government, since democracy, which was proclaimed by the government as the core of its work, had to be the supreme value, as it was freedom of speech with implementation of which the political figure of Nikol Pashinyanwas created. However, yesterday freedom of speech was trampled, thus deepening the intolerance to dissent and proclaiming that it is necessary to think first, and then to speak, while the  National Security Service is the guarantor and sponsor of ‘the freedom of speech’,” she wrote.

“Perhaps, it is worth noting that the liveliness and misery of the principle of freedom of speech is that the person himself decides whether to think, then to speak, to speak and to think later, or not to think at all. I think we are facing a very dangerous and responsible divide today, unless the approaches are changed, this means we are rejecting the freedom of speech, and therefore democracy.”

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