With political jockeying already underway in advance of Armenia’s parliamentary vote next spring, civil society activists are pondering ways to use the Internet to promote electoral transparency.
Since the last parliamentary vote in 2008, Internet access has boomed in Armenia, experiencing 700-percent growth from 2009 to 2010 alone, according to data compiled by the Public Services Regulatory Commission. At present, roughly half the population is now able to obtain news and information via online outlets. Activists are hopeful that the Internet’s popularity can help address one of the most problematic areas of past elections, not only in Armenia but in most post-Soviet states – the manipulation of media outlets to favor selected candidates.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.