On April 13, Yerevan Press Club, Journalists Union of Armenia and Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression made a statement condemning violence against media representatives.
“On early morning of April 13, journalists were also among the victims of the rally dispersed by police forces on Baghramian Avenue in Yerevan.
Yerevan Press Club, Journalists Union of Armenia, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression state that law and order bodies have not yet revealed and punished the perpetrators of April 5 violence against the journalists. Moreover, this time the police themselves used force towards journalists on their duty: several media representatives were exposed to beating; their equipment was snatched away or crashed.
We once again stress that impeding journalist activity by any person even the police is criminal offence.
We condemn this display of violence and declare that we will be consistent in our demands, namely to track and punish, on Article 164 of RA Criminal Code, the persons using violence against the journalists on both April 5 and April 13 early morning, as well as to compensate the damage caused to the media”, the statement of three journalistic organizations runs.
Committee to Protect Journalists also appealed to the Armenian authorities “to investigate these attacks against our colleagues and bring those responsible to justice".
Repeated violence against media people on duty was condemned by a number of local journalistic associations.
The April 14 statement of CE Secretary General Walter Schwimmer expresses concern over anti-democratic decline in Armenia and stresses the necessity for dialogue among all political forces. "There is incomplete and conflicting news of excessive use of force by the police, of arrests – including of members of parliament – and of a media blackout. This confirms one thing: if there was complete freedom of the media, we would have a clear picture of the situation”, CE Secretary General notes.
“Haikakan Zhamanak” initiated a peculiar action. In April 14 issue, the daily accompanied all materials devoted to the events with the same photo of RA Police Deputy Head Hovhannes Varian. Besides, the newspaper reported that it intends to file a petition to General Prosecutor’s Office for bringing him to criminal responsibility.