The Armenian legislation guarantees all main rights and freedoms to the Civil society in Armenia. One of those rights and freedoms is freedom of expression, which is one of the basic rights for culture.
According to the Law on Mass Media, media practitioners and journalists act freely on the basis of principles of equality, lawfulness, freedom of expression and pluralism. Censorship, coercion, hindrance to professional activities, and discrimination are prohibited. The law restricts the dissemination of information that is considered secret information, or information advocating criminally punishable acts, as well as information violating the right to privacy of one’s personal or family life.
However, in 2020, some restrictions were introduced for media publications due to the state of emergency announced because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war. According to the decision on martial law, publication, and dissemination of information on military operations could only be done through quoting the official government information without editing it.
Furthermore, restrictions on freedom of expression were extended to prohibit statements criticizing or refuting the actions of the government, LSGBs, or officials done in the framework of the martial law and ensuring state security, as well as questioning the effectiveness of those actions or depreciating them in any way. These restrictions were limited in duration and justified by state security. Thus, in 2021 a law ciminalizing insults and defamation was accepted, but in 2022 it was cancelled because of the vast criticism from civil society organizations, because obviously, these restrictions lacked specificity so that disproportional interference with the human rights and the work of journalists could take place.
After the Velvet Revolution in 2018 representatives of civil society organizations were also involved in the new team of the Government and therefore the space between the Government and the society was decreasing. In 2018 there was a significant increase of CSOs reputation as well as in the trust towards them. But within the last years the reputation rate towards CSOs has decreased and the distrust increased because of the defeat in the Karabakh war and an emerged discourse that the war was lost due to civic and diplomatic values advocated by CSOs.
However, the Civil Society organizations in Armenia are not going to reject their intentions to promote democratic and intellectual values through projects, initiatives, cultural and intellectual events and collaboration with international organizations. Thus, some initiatives are implemented in collaboration with Freedom House under the project entitled “Advancing Democratic Culture in Armenia”, which is supposed to create space for dialogue among civil society, the government, policymakers, journalists, and the public through research and analysis, support for grassroots initiatives, media literacy activities, advocacy, and convenings. It is partnering with such organizations as the Union of Informed Citizens, Boon Foundation, Civilitas Foundation, the Civil Youth Centre and Goris Press Club.
 CSO metre: a compass to conducive environment and CSO empowerment Armenia 2021 country report, https://csometer.info/updates/armenia-2021-cso-meter-country-report-presented
 Aghasi Tadevosyan, The Role of Civil Society Organizations: Problems and Challenges, https://www.crrc.am/publications/the-role-of-civil-society-organizations-problems-and-challenges/