On May 10 RA Procuracy reported about the institution of criminal proceedings on incidents that happened on the ballot day of elections to RA National Assembly, May 6, 2012. Three of them are dealing with cases of impeding the work of journalists at the electoral precincts of Gyumri.
According to the information stored on the RA Procuracy’s website (www.genproc.am), on May 6 at about 8.30, the agency received a hot line report, informing that at the 34/25 precinct of Gyumri Spartak Ghukasian, son of the city Mayor Vardan Ghukasian, took away the camera from Varazdat Papikian, cameraman of “Kentron” TV channel, and then made him leave the precinct.
A similar alert was registered from the electoral precinct 34/21 of Gyumri. At about 8.30 a group of men entered the precinct and took away the camera of Vladimir Khachatrian, correspondent and cameraman of “Kentron” TV channel, installed at the precinct.
At 18.30 Karen Alekian, correspondent of “Maks-Info” news agency addressed to the Gyumri Police Department. The journalist reported that at about 9.30 at the electoral precinct 34/26 of Gyumri four young men tore off the journalistic ID from his clothes and took away the video camera, provided to him by “Prosperous Armenia” party. Two hours later the camera was returned broken.
On May 8 criminal proceedings were instituted upon all these incidents on charges of Article 149 of RA Criminal Code (“Obstruction of the realization of the right to vote, the work of electoral commissions or the competence of people taking part in elections”). The cases are submitted to the RA Special Investigative Service.
As it has been reported, on May 8 criminal proceedings were instituted upon another incident, but on charges of Article 164 of RA Criminal Code (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”). The incident happened in the morning of May 6 at 12/33 electoral precinct of Yerevan: a man tried to take the video camera of Elina Chilingarian, correspondent of Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 4-10, 2012).
On May 14 on www.genproc.am RA Procuracy informed about two other cases in Gyumri dealing with media representatives, who were covering the voting day.
According to RA Procuracy, on May 11 A.Hovhannisian, Chairman of electoral commission of 34/20 precinct in Gyumri, informed that on May 6 at 8.00 Roman Sargsian, representative of “Kentron” TV channel, attempted to install a video camera at a polling booth and thus violate the ballot secrecy.
On the same day, May 11, Naira Nalbandian, correspondent of “GALA” TV company of Gyumri, informed that on May 5 at about 19.00 Grigor Hovhannisian, Chairman of 33 district electoral commission of Gyumri, refused to provide information, disputed with her and impeded her professional activities.
Gyumri Police Department has started the preparing materials on both of the cases.