In the afternoon of October 11 at the editorial office of “Aravot” daily an
incident occurred to its correspondent Ruzan Minasian. When the journalist came
to the editorial office, a group of people started insulting her and throwing
items they could lay hands on at her. Ruzan Minasian was slightly injured.
The reason for the incident was the article by Ruzan Minasian “No Money Charged
from Deceased”, published in “Aravot” on October 11, 2007. The story quoted
the letter of the imprisoned A.M., convicted for murder committed in 2002 and
pleading not guilty. The article caused the indignation of the victim’s family
and friends who came to “Aravot” editorial office and started a brawl.
The statement of Yerevan Press Club, Journalists Union of Armenia and the Committee
to Protect Freedom of Expression, released on October 12, stressed: “(…) The
lack of punishment for intimidation, insults and attacks, made by representatives
of political and oligarchic groups, their bodyguards, results in a situation
when intolerance to journalists and media seizes other segments of the society,
too, that have the idea instilled of violence being appropriate response to
facts, arguments and opinions.” Journalistic organizations reminded that “journalist
follows his/her public duty, also reports the different opinions that exist
in the society on a certain issue”: “In this case Ruzan Minasian did nothing
more than present the stance of a person, convicted for life, his justifications
of his own innocence. The people of contrary viewpoint, using their right to
respond, could have published their arguments.” The signatories condemned another
act of violence against journalist and demanded that “those responsible for
it, this time known, be held to account in accordance with the law”.
In the opinion of the RA Human Rights Defender Armen Harutiunian, expressed
in a statement of October 12, this intolerant attitude of citizens to the professional
activities of a journalist poses a threat to the establishment of independent
fourth estate in the country and adversely affects the reputation of the state.
On October 12 the RA Police announced that criminal proceedings were instituted
by the Police of Yerevan Center community on Article 164 of the RA Criminal
Code (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of journalist”). The
press release also listed the names of six women that started the scuffle at
“Aravot” editorial office.
Meanwhile, as YPC was told by Ruzan Minasian, she had been attacked not only
by women, but also by at least three men, one of them being most active. She
also noted she had interviewed one of these three men. Ruzan Minasian said she
would keep insisting that all the participants of the attack be charged with