YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


INCIDENTS WITH JOURNALISTS ON THE DAY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

On February 19, the day of presidential elections in Armenia, a number of incidents
involving journalists occurred.

At about noon in the vicinity of a precinct in Center community of Yerevan
several young people started a scuffle with “A1+” cameraman Hovsep Hovsepian.
As YPC was told at the editorial office of “A1+,” the men, looking not sober,
came up to Hovsep Hovsepian as he got out of the car and tried to take his camera
away. In the end they managed to take away the video tape and damage it beyond
repair.

The incident with the correspondent of “Haik” newspaper Samvel Avagian occurred
at a market in the center of Yerevan. The journalist went there to verify the
reports, received by the editorial office that at the market certificates were
being issued that enable voters to vote at precincts other than pertaining to
their permanent residence and voters were being transported to polling stations.
According to the article of Samvel Avagian, published in “Haik” on February
20, the market director suggested that the journalist have a talk with him in
his office, where a police officer was. According to the journalist, during
the interview with the police officer, the market director took away his recorder,
started pouring threats and then gave the recorder back, having erased the recording.

In the afternoon on the territory of the precinct 13/16 of Erebuni community
of Yerevan the correspondent of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily Lusineh Barseghian
was a witness of an argument between an observer and the chairman of the precinct
election commission. According to Lusineh Barseghian, she tried to get explanations
from the commission chairman who responded by asking the police officers to
evict her from the precinct. When the observer, a deputy of the RA National
Assembly of “Heritage” party Armen Martirosian tried to explain that it was
unacceptable to impede the professional duties of a journalist, he was evicted
from the station, too. A stranger took the journalist’s digital camera and the
recorder, and, when required to give them back, he “used his hands and feet”,
with the representatives of the law enforcement bodies remaining indifferent
to the incident. On this incident at the polling station 13/16 criminal proceedings
are instituted by Article 149 of the RA Criminal Code (“Obstructing the right
to vote, the work of election commissions or implementation of the competence
of persons, involved in elections”). The investigation is made by the RA Special
Investigative Service.