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Strengthening Government Communication Architecture (AM0047)



Action Plan: Armenia Action Plan 2022-2024 (December)

Action Plan Cycle: 2022



Lead Institution: Office of the Prime Minister

Support Institution(s): Office of Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, State administration bodies, Local Self-Government Bodies; Freedom of Information Center, "Public Journalism Club", "K.E.T." NGO, Other NGOs and organizations; National Assembly

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Digital Governance, Disinformation/Misinformation, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia Action Plan Review 2022-2024

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Yes

Ambition (see definition): No Data

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


Brief Description of the Commitment
Develop the conceptual foundations of strategic communication and information policy of the State, modernize the functional system of institutional management and introduce innovative models to the policies pursued by the State, communication with the public, public awareness policy, information delivering processes through the planning and implementation of strategic communication. Expected outputs ✓ proactive and clearly planned awareness mechanisms regarding state activities and public policies will be approved ✓ formation of procedures/protocols/ for the management of strategic communication and coordination of processes in various emergency situations will be approved, proper state response mechanisms to the spread of manipulative information, misinformation and false information will be approved and introduced, ✓ The functional and institutional system of strategic communication of the RA government will be updated. ✓ Formation of the institutional capacity of participatory management - creation of a supporting unit. Institutional capacity building will examine issues of participation and inclusion, clarify public participation procedures in policy development, if necessary, amend or initiate legal regulations in this direction, develop guidelines and methods (traditional and non-traditional) in this direction, review the effectiveness of digital participation tools, support appropriate in the state body capacity and the range of responsible, will implement and implement innovative mechanisms, etc.

Problem Definition
1. What problem does the commitment aim to address? 1. There are numerous structural and content-specific problems in the field of information and public communication policy of the State, which leads to an insufficient and improper level of awareness of State policies pursued, emergence of communication gaps and vacuum with different layers of society. Modern opportunities for communication management and information dissemination also pose significant risks in terms of state communication security, particularly when the open virtual domain is full of information noise and almost uncontrollable volume and dynamics of manipulative information. This problem became particularly apparent during the pandemic (Covid-19) and the war and afterwards. Due to the circumstances arising during crises, the quick response requires an early thought-out and developed communication strategy, and a high level of awareness and preparedness by the population. The untimely and incomplete information gave rise to provocations, increase in misinformation, and decrease in confidence in the State. As a result of taking into account the above-mentioned: 1. An importance was attached to the effective and inclusive communication which will enable the public and interested parties to understand the situation in crisis situations, respond correctly to manipulative speculations, quickly identify fake information on social networks and recognize the official sources. The mechanisms, responsibilities and framework of accountability of high-ranking officials, state administration and local self-government bodies are not defined in the Republic of Armenia as well. 2. On the other hand, for ensuring the transparency and accessibility of the processes, as well as for increasing confidence in the Government, quick spread of coordinated information to target groups and to wide ranges of the public is important for the State. 3. In this case, it is important to form an institutional public communication mechanism, which implies coordinated public discussions, meetings, quick access to target 20 groups, development of CSO capacities and ensuring inclusiveness. These issues and challenges exist both in relations between executive bodies and citizens, and in relations between local self-government bodies and citizens

2. What are the causes of the problem? Substantive issues in the field of communication and information management are mainly connected to the lack of unified policies and innovative approaches. Currently, the information policy of the Government and state bodies is not elaborated. Due to the absence of it, the Government does not act unanimously when communicating with the public and the media, the main problems and goals of communication are not specified, which, apparently, should be directly related to the current agenda and priorities of development and reforms. The processes implemented by the Government and local self-government bodies are not guided by any strategic document or a concept.

Commitment Description
1. What has been done so far to solve the problem? In the Republic of Armenia, the provision of information about the obligations of the executive body and local self-government bodies is regulated by the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On freedom of information" and the legal regulations of the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia "On establishing the procedure for recording, classification and storage of information by those possessing the information or of information delivered to him or her, as well as for providing information or the copy thereof by the state and local self-governing bodies, state institutions and organizations”. However, these legal regulations do not define and co-ordinate the role of the state or local self-government bodies to ensure proper communication and monitoring.

2. What solution are you proposing? (1) Formation of a concept of strategic communication based on the analysis and evaluation of the information and communication system. (2) Elaboration and introduction of an institutional model of the unified information policy of the Government.

3. What results do we want to achieve by implementing this commitment? Upon carrying out the commitment: (1) Determination of public strategic communication architecture will be followed by the definition of strategic and conceptual principles of information policy. Definition of communication goals, directions, and powers for the Government and individual bodies will become primary. (2) The core of the architecture is the identification and formation of a central body ensuring co-ordination between different institutions, as well as the definition of horizontal co-ordination mechanisms between institutions. (3) The goal of communication policy and institutional architecture should be proactively informing the public and not responding. (4) It is necessary to develop unified approaches and guidelines for work and communication with mass media, including those for rules of conduct and protocol. (5) Introduction of an innovative model of public communication in the central government system (defining the venue, methodology and mechanism). As a final result, it is expected to introduce a strategic public communication implementation strategy at all levels of the public administration system which will make the connection with the public stronger, feedback mechanisms, effective channels for delivering messages to the public, quick response tools and digital solutions will be established, that will work synchronously and will transform the communication into an automated institutional system.

Commitment Analysis
1. How will the commitment promote transparency? The implementation of the commitment will contribute to the increase of transparency by delivering sufficient and proper, timely information about the State and through the elimination of communication gaps between the public and different layers.

2. How will the commitment help foster accountability? The communication document will contribute to the increase of the accountability of State authorities, including highranking officials, by providing periodic and comprehensive information.

3. How will the commitment improve citizen participation in defining, implementing, and monitoring solutions? Determination of communication architecture will form a new culture of public communication and awareness. Citizens and different public segments carrying out activities will be informed in a timely and appropriate manner about the information regarding individual policies, reforms, and services envisaged for them. Besides, they will be provided with proper information and training on the rules of conduct in emergency situations. The regulation of the field of public communication will contribute to the formation of a public position based on official information, the development of the capacities of professional organizations and CSOs, the creation of a State-citizen strong connection, as well as it will contribute to the increase of media literacy.

Commitment Planning (Milestones | Expected Outputs | Expected Completion Date)

Action 1. Studying the international practice | Establish a professional co-operation with international organizations, civil societies and other sector specialists operating in the Republic of Armenia and other countries. Study the best models. | December 2022

Action 2. Formation of the foundations of the strategic communication policy concept | Formation of conceptual foundations of the unified public communication policy based on the analysis and evaluation of the information and communication system | December 2023

Action 3. Development of an institutional model for the unified strategic communication information policy of the Government and that for the implementation thereof | Map and develop the institutional model of the unified information policy of the Government. Establish a unified communication institutional mechanism for public communication through the, application of the methodology, practice and capabilities of the OGP process. Establish the mechanism within the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow ensuring direct contacts with the public, discussions, meetings in closed format, alternative communication formats, meetings and access to target groups regarding the documents submitted for public discussion. | 1st half of 2023

Action 4. Formation of an institutional mechanism for the monitoring and maintenance of participatory management procedures | Form an institutional capacity (unit) promoting participatory governance processes within the framework of the Prime Minister's Office. The unit will regularly study the issues of participation and inclusiveness, clarify the procedures for public participation in the development of policies, develop guidelines and methods in this direction, develop the relevant capacities and the range of responsible persons in the state body. | 1st half of 2024

Relation of the Commitment to strategic documents and other international processes: Public Administration Reform Strategy; 2021-2026 Programme of the Government of the Republic of Armenia: "6. Institutional Development"

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Action Plan Review

Commitment 2. State strategic communication architecture

● Verifiable: Yes

● Does it have an open government lens? Yes

● Potential for results: Modest

Lead agency: Office of the Prime Minister

For a complete description of the commitment, see Commitment 2 in Armenia’s 2022–2024 action plan here.

Context and objectives:

Under this commitment, the Office of the Prime Minister will develop a unified policy to guide all state bodies in their public communications, including information provision and soliciting public feedback. The commitment was developed jointly by civil society and the government and reflects the Public Administration Reform Strategy, which calls for a policy on informational and strategic communication. [16] It also reflects the recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that governments should have appropriate mandates and strategies to guide their public communication. [17]

Armenia’s legislation on access to information and the regulations of communication departments in state agencies provide a limited framework for public communication. However, there is no government-wide policy setting institutional mechanisms for and approaches to public communication, such as mandating the development of communication plans by state agencies or enforcing regular and proactive communication on implemented policies and reforms. As a result, public communication by state bodies is often fragmented and depends on the personal attitudes and capacities of officials and their staff. After the 2018 Velvet Revolution, high-level officials have increasingly used social media to provide information to the public on their own initiative, while official channels often fail to provide timely and effective information. [18] The gaps in official information, along with the increased use of social media, provide room for disinformation and fake news. [19] The COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) war, and further political turbulences have emphasized the need for regulations on government communication, particularly in emergency situations.

In addition, different mechanisms exist for public engagement in policy-making, such as public councils, online consultations on draft laws, public hearings, and surveys. However, many of these mechanisms are not fully functional in practice. [20] There is currently no institutional support (i.e., detailed procedures or allocated staff and resources) for organizing discussions and collecting public feedback beyond the mandatory publication of legislative drafts on To address this gap, the commitment will establish a special unit in the Office of the Prime Minister that will produce a methodology for public engagement, allocate physical space for meetings with the public and assist state bodies in organizing public discussions. This unit will stimulate more systematic public engagement in government initiatives, including outreach to specific social groups of relevance to certain policies or state bodies.

The commitment could contribute to government transparency by facilitating consistent and proactive information to the public. It will also contribute to civic participation because the unit under the Office of the Prime Minister aims to set up more diverse channels of public engagement.

Potential for results: Modest

This commitment could improve how state agencies provide information to the public. For the first time, Armenia will have a government-wide strategy to regulate the institutional settings and procedures of public communications. According to a civil society representative, the strategy will lead to more timely and consistent information for the public. [21] The procedures could help the communication departments of state agencies function more effectively by standardizing the vocabulary they use in their public communication. A civil society representative hopes that the procedures will eventually change the attitudes of state officials who currently do not prioritize providing the public with information on ongoing policies, programs, and services of state institutions. [22] According to a government representative, the policies and procedures under this communication strategy will be binding for all state bodies. [23] However, as the action plan does not mention legislative measures to mandate the policies and procedures for all national-level government bodies and the monitoring measures, the IRM assessed the potential for results as modest.

The commitment will also introduce appropriate state response mechanisms to prevent the spread of misleading and false information. Timely and adequate communication (particularly during times of crisis), helping to prevent the spread of misleading and false information, could improve public trust in the government’s actions and in the democratic process. In addition, the commitment will regulate the government’s relationship with mass media and apply standard principles in organizing press conferences. An interviewed journalist noted that the government sometimes takes a selective approach to its interactions to media. [24] This commitment could help the government engage the media more consistently and fairly.

The new unit under the Office of the Prime Minister could provide much-needed institutional coordination and support to state bodies in organizing public discussions. This could reinforce existing mechanisms of public engagement that are not often used and introduce alternative tools based on the needs of certain social groups.

Opportunities, challenges, and recommendations during implementation

Civil society has noted that limited capacity prevents the government from effectively communicating to and engaging the public. [25] It is important to develop necessary capacities and designate sufficient human resources in each state body and strengthen communication skills of the state administration. The unit for coordinating participation and follow-up communication also needs to be given the necessary financial and human resources, including experts in communication with various stakeholders.

To address these potential issues, the IRM recommends the following:

  • Use the policies and procedures to improve public communication in local self-governments. According to a government representative, the policies and procedures will be optional for local governments. [26] The Office of the Prime Minister could encourage uptake of the communication policies and procedures in local self-governments. In addition, the public engagement methodology can inform the implementation of the commitment in Yerevan’s first OGP Local action plan (2023­–2024) on organizing open, transparent, and participatory public discussions. [27]
  • Specify the legislative measures to mandate the policies and procedures for all national-level government bodies and the monitoring measures. The government noted to the IRM that the communication policies and procedures will be binding for all state bodies. Therefore, it will be important to specify the legislative measures to mandate the policies and procedures during implementation. Moreover, the commitment does not specify the mechanisms to monitor compliance with the policies and procedures. During implementation, the Office of the Prime Minister could clarify a monitoring approach for the procedures, possibly by involving civil society. Ideally, the monitoring measures should be incorporated directly into the relevant procedures.
  • Engage state bodies and civil society in developing communication policies and procedures. It is important that information departments of state bodies and civil society stakeholders participate in designing the strategy to ensure co-ownership and effective implementation.
  • Based on the recommendations in CSO reports and from stakeholder interviews, the communication strategy could cover
    • awareness raising and discussions of state policies and reforms for the general public, including at the regional level;
    • publication of information and documents of public interest on official websites in a user-friendly manner;
    • targeted messages and activities for socially disadvantaged groups, including making official websites accessible for people with disabilities;
    • utilizing new electronic communication tools for disseminating information, strengthening interagency and internal communication channels, assigning designated staff for proactive public engagement, and using the communication strategy to improve trust toward the government.
  • Clarify the measures to prevent the spread of false or misleading information. The commitment calls for introducing appropriate state response measures to prevent the spread of misleading and false information, but these measures are not yet defined. For these measures to strengthen public trust in government policies, it is important that they be implemented in a transparent and participatory manner.
[16] RA Government Decision N 691-L, 13 May 2022, ARLIS,
[17]The Global Context and the Way Forward, 21 December 2021, OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development),
[18]The Current State and Changing Role of Civil Society in Public Policy Processes, Center for Educational Research and Consulting, 2022,
[19]Disinformation and Misinformation in Armenia: Confronting the Power of False Narratives, Freedom House, June 2021,
[20] Anush Hakobyan and Tatevik Margaryan, CSO Meter 2021: Armenia Country Report, ECNL Stichting and Transparency International Anticorruption Center, 2022,
[21] Shushan Doydoyan (Freedom of Information Center of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 25 November 2022.
[22] Syuzanna Soghomonyan (Armenian Lawyers’ Association), interview by IRM researcher, 13 December 2022.
[23] Lilia Afrikyan (staff of the prime minister), interview by IRM researcher, 22 November 2022.
[24] Balasanyan, interview.
[25] “Mapping Public Participation Platforms and Opportunities in Armenia,” Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center (TIAC),; Current State and Changing Role,
[26] Afrikyan, interview.
[27] See more information on this commitment here: “Yerevan, Armenia: Organization and Implementation of Open, Transparent and Participatory Public Discussions (AMERV0001),” Yerevan OGP Action Plan 2023–2024, Commitment 1, Open Government Partnership,


Open Government Partnership