Monday, March 03, 2008

Totalitarian state - just like China.

When I was in China last year, it was impossible to access a lot of news sites. Fortunately, I had encrypted VPN with a server back home so I was able to do so.

Now Armenia has implemented similar measures to censor the internet. The Armenian citizens are unable to access quite a few websites. Even the e-mail service for the only independent news organization, the former A1+ TV station which now only has (well, had) a website, has been shut down.

The basic freedoms of speech are being curbed. Not only that, the bloggers in Armenia have VOLUNTARILY stopped blogging.

People, that is not the way to fight a totalitarian regime! We fought against the Soviet Union which also had a repressive attitude towards free speech. The Chinese fight against their repressive regime. Wake up and start reporting from Armenia.

Do not let the regime get away with this. Create redundancy in your reports so that in case one site is shut down, there are 10 more out there to spread the word.

Here is what Observer has posted about shutting down internet sites.

Internet is being censored in Armenia

In the evening of March 2, the Internet Society of Armenia (ISOC) has ILLEGALLY stopped the maintenance of several domains, including A1+ -, Haykakan Zhamanak –, E-channel – In the database of ISOC- , they are registered as “on hold.”

With that step, A1+ has been deprived not only of his site but also if its mail service.

The domains have been “frozen” without the decision of the ISOC board – either by the instruction on behalf of the presidential office, or the National Security Service.

In the decree of president Kocharyan, there was nothing about freezing the domains, closing web sites and the media.

We would like to provide some help to those, who still want to access the above mentioned websites. Firstly, and have their backup DNS records. You can access also at (e-channel with a -) and at At the moment we are negotiating with the ISOC board to urge them to stop this illegal blocking of our domain names. However, there is a possibility, that the backup domain names ( and will also be blocked. For that case, I will be posting a list of IP names for the servers, where these and other blocked information websites are located, and you can access them by clicking the links in the list below (I’ll update the list as soon as colleagues let me know the relevant IP addresses):

  1. -
  2. -
  3. -

Let me remind everybody, that A1plus YouTube channel and Asplus blog are still functional. There is also an Armenian Newspaper Electronic Archive, where you can find Archived publications from some of the blocked newspaper websites.

As for bloggers - I would strongly recommend, that all of you access your email addresses and blog accounts using one of the anonymous web browsing suggestions, and change your email and blog account passwords. Make sure they’re strong, contain figures and letters.

12 Responses to “Internet is being censored in Armenia”

  1. artmika Says:

    We should break this media blackout with all means possible!

    For access to Radio Liberty website, try

  2. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    I think under a state of emergency they can do anything. The declaration does not restrict what the government may do, but does restrict local media, NGOs and others. The state of emergency presumably can be applied here because of a very vague reference to “political propaganda” which is not limited solely to paper-based or broadcast media.

    Under a state of emergency one also supposes there is no need to go through the motions of convening regulatory boards and the such like. Faced with what the government considers to be an emergency situation it can do pretty much what it likes when it likes. That’s the nature of a state of emergency and Armenia is no different than any other country.

    However, it’s worth pointing out one thing. I can access A1 Plus and have done so many times today so I think the block was lifted before you made this post. I haven’t been able to access E-Channel, however. Nor RFE/RL’s site either although it’s worth pointing out that they have been violating the state of emergency restrictions. I don’t think E-Channel has been, however, but I could be wrong.

  3. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    In the decree of president Kocharyan, there was nothing about freezing the domains, closing web sites and the media.

    I think there was.

    4) Publications of mass media concerning state and internal political issues can be implemented solely within the limits of the official information of state bodies.

    5) Ban on leaflets and implementation of political propaganda by other means without permission of corresponding state bodies.

    The issue for me is whether E-Channel is violating these restrictions. From what I gather they’re not. A1 Plus isn’t and is now again available in Armenia. RFE/RL has violated the restrictions and in actual fact, it’s English language web site was a pro-Ter-Petrossian mouthpiece dressed up in a very sophisticated way since Setpember 2007 when the former president returned to the political scene.

  4. armen Says:

    Anyway its bad,its ugly and its not democratic. are we going to prison bloggers also?

  5. Observer Says:

    Guys - I’ve updated the post above with important tips and links to the blocked sites. I’d also recommend - using google and finding your own anonymous browsing solutions, and if you do - please post links here.

  6. HaikN Says:

    toom ambitious, a too mabitiouse move.
    Armenian State is in big trouble. they are trying to fight the Internet. I declair that they lost this fight. This not even a fight this is a joke.
    they can shoot bullets and kill people but they cant do this in Internet.
    they will close, atatck or hack one site and another will spring up. They will block IPs and URLs but new ones will open up. And many many of them.
    you cant fight Information in the information age. Even if they switch off the Internet connection to Armenia (this was done only in Turkmenista for a short period) the message will be passed through phone lines. they will switch the phone system, makeshift radio stations will pop up.
    They are finished.
    Ditord as there is a threat that your Internet might be switched off will you put regular postings updating us with teh status? if we dont hear from you we will know that armenia moved to stone age.

  7. Observer Says:

    Haik - I will be updating this blog much more regularly now that we have reached this sad state of affairs.

  8. Sophie Says: this is link to

    If we lose this battle, we will be slaves for a long time. I don’t want to live in country where I can feel free only in my kitchen once again.

  9. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Observer will also not be under state of emergency rules and will be out of the country for 16 days so no restrictions apply to him at all. Anyway, I have to say the A1 Plus and others took their freedom to publish disinformation to the limits and beyond.

    There’s freedom but there’s also the need for reliable information.

    And let’s face it. A1 Plus and others were part of attempts to push for revolution and civil disorder in Armenia. Like I said, my concern is about E-Channel and not Ter-Petrossian propaganda outlets such as A1 Plus and RFE/RL.

    As for shooting, nearly as many police and soldiers were victims of bullet wounds on Saturday night as protesters. Besides, both sides were gearing up for a fight and both are to blame. This was being prepared for. There is no good or bad here. Both sides are guilty. One was merely weaker than the other.

    What amazes me most is how Ter-Petrossian’s loyal supporters still don’t question the fact that he basically deceived them and put them in the firing line by assuring them that the army would not be used. He also said that KGB were 90 percent on his side. Well, now we know he lied and he did so knowing that if people believed him they would not fear for their lives.

    As I recall, A1 Plus and RFE/RL were responsible for pumping out that misinformation too. Anyway, yes, freedom of speech, but there is a responsibility to adhere to professional standards of journalism which largely do not exist here and after attempts to stage a coup d’etat, it’s now a state of emergency. Interestingly, while the state of emergency will be lifted in 20 days or less, attempts to push information out designed to bring people to the streets again will likely lead only to more protests and more deaths.

    There is the law and there is breaking the law with all of its undesirable consequences. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone to decide which path to take, but please, don’t start crying when there are consequences.

  10. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    BTW: To remind again, I have been unable to access A1 Plus all day and so it doesn’t look as though it’s blocked using this connection at least.

    Also, Observer, on what basis is blocking these sites illegal? Under the state of emergency regulations the government can act. It’s up to you whether you want them to block domains or do what they did recently in Georgia i.e. raid offices, smash equipment or arrest journalists.

    Actually, probably Levon’s people would prefer such a response as it would help them tremendously outside of Armenia. Interestingly, the government appears to be showing a surprising amount of restraint this time round.

  11. Onnik Krikorian Says:


    BTW: To remind again, I have been ABLE to access A1 Plus all day and so it doesn’t look as though it’s blocked using this connection at least.

  12. AFP: France called today, Monday, for the “rapid lifting” of the state of emergency in Armenia, the “release of people who have been arrested” and the launch of political dialogue to end the violence that left eight people dead in Yerevan at the weekend.
    “We ask for a rapid lifting of the state of emergency and the release of the people who have been arrested,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani.

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