YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


INCIDENTS WITH JOURNALISTS IN KOTAYK REGION

On March 25 in the city of Hrazdan (Kotayk region) representatives of law enforcement
bodies impeded the work of the correspondent of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper
Taguhi Tovmasian, the free-lance journalist Gagik Shamshian and the correspondent
of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily Karineh Harutiunian. The journalists arrived in
Hrazdan to cover the protest actions to support the deputy of the RA National
Assembly Sasun Mikaelian and other opposition politicians, arrested in the context
of March 1 events in Yerevan.

During the rally the representatives of law enforcement bodies tried to take
away Taguhi Tovmasian’s recorder and Gagik Shamshian’s photo camera. According
to Gagik Shamshian, the police also tried to push him into the police car by
force. He was saved only by the intervention of the locals, who further helped
him and Taguhi Tovmasian to escape. Gagik Shamshian said that the law enforcement
officers started to follow them, and they were only able to get to Yerevan by
the vehicle of the Rapid Response Group of the RA Human Right’s Defender’s staff.

According to the correspondent of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily Karineh Harutiunian,
the editorial car was followed upon the exit of Hrazdan and was stopped by the
officers of the State Traffic Inspection and the local police. Karineh Harutiunian
and the driver were brought to the Police of the Kotayk region. According to
Karineh Harutiunian, on the way and at the police premises she was not allowed
to use her mobile phone, her arms were twisted when she attempted to answer
her phone calls. At the police Karine Harutiunian was threatened: as it turned
out, the local senior police officers were indignant at the photographs published
in one of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” issues. As the journalist noted, for unknown
reasons soon the officers started to treat her in a milder manner, and an hour
later she and the driver were released.

On March 27, 2008 “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily reported also that, by its information,
the day before in Kotayk region some strangers picked up the issues of “Zhamanak
Yerevan” and “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” of March 26, 2008 from the newspaper stalls.
These were the issues that published reports on the situation in Hrazdan.