As can be seen, the media landscape of Armenia requires serious structural changes at all levels. Print media are in poor condition. The underdevelopment of the advertising market forces newspapers to rely largely on sponsors, which has an extremely negative effect on the content and on the dissemination of independent information. Regional newspapers, which are on the verge of extinction, are especially vulnerable; they cannot be retrieved even by going online. Television completely lost its ground as a key source of information, giving way to online journalism and social networks.
The process of transition to digital broadcasting raises many questions inside the Republic. The competition for granting licenses to regional channels for broadcasting in a multiplex is not always carried out objectively. The creation of a second multiplex, whether commercial or private, which is being talked about continuously, is artificially hampered at the legislative level. Lacking sufficient means and technical capabilities, regional channels cannot meet the selection criteria and have to die out slowly in the analog format.
The country is going through a process of development of online media. The fall in prices for Internet services has contributed to the rise of online journalism, which actively forms the main informational agenda, especially amid sociopolitical processes.
To a large extent, it is thanks to online media activities that in 2018 Armenia moved from the list of ‘partially free’ countries to ‘free’ ones. Online media broadcasting live actively covered the entire process of the revolution, promptly notifying the population about all the events in the streets of Yerevan.
The legislative sphere also requires major changes. The main law on Mass Media needs to be amended, especially in terms of the activities of online publications.
After the change of power in 2018, the National Commission on Television and Radio was actively involved in the transformation process. The draft law on Television and Radio is currently being discussed, the adoption of which should affect on channel licensing regulations, the creation of a second commercial multiplex, solving the problems of regional channels, increasing public status and state support for channels. Still, the parties have not reached a consensus in the discussion. The opponents of the bill think that drastic changes are required, and first of all the law should include the regulation of the Internet space as the main information platform, and not the individual areas of television, radio and online media.
In terms of linguistic factors of functioning, the media landscape of Armenia is primarily bilingual: Armenian is the leading language, the second is Russian. Online media seek to provide information in English as well. The Russian language is more present on television and radio; thus Russian television channels and radio stations are relayed in Armenia. This fact can be explained by the existence of the world’s largest Armenian diaspora in the Russian territory, close economic relations (Armenia together with Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union), and the existing historical ties. In addition, a large number of Russian-language content depends on the lack of a budget for dubbing. In the context of linguistic media consumption, the Russian-language media are more used by the representatives of the older generation who received education in the Soviet Union.
Since the “Velvet Revolution”, the republic's media system, like all other industries, has been in a transitional, post-revolutionary stage. However, the past two years have not yet revealed any fundamental changes in the media sphere. Media continues to be fragmented, with a lot of polarization. Commercial media belong to either private business or opposition parties which actively intervene in editorial policy. Independent media continue to rely mainly on foreign grants and, to a lesser extent on advertising. Mutual accusations, attacks, harassment and slander between the opposition media and power structures have increased significantly, especially the intensity of hatred is great on social networks. Against this background, statements of Prime Minister Pashinyan about the venality of most of the media and journalists in the republic are adding fuel to the fire. The transformation process in the media sphere still continues.