YPC Weekly Newsletter

2013


POLICE OFFICERS BEAR RESPONSIBILITY FOR INACTION DURING ATTACK AGAINST ILUR.AM CORRESPONDENT AND FOR COUNTERACTION AGAINST HETQ.AM REPORTER

On April 27, RA Police reported that in connection with the attack against journalist of iLur.am Hakob Karapetian, criminal proceedings are instituted upon Part 1 of Article 164 of RA Criminal Code ("Obstruction of legitimate professional activities of journalist "). Investigation of the case is assigned to the Yerevan Nor Nork Department of RA Police .

As we have reported, the incident with iLur.am correspondent occurred on April 23, at about 17.30 in Yerevan, at the campaign event of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), running in the Yerevan Council of Elders elections. The journalist was shooting on a video camera the event organizers distributing balloons to the children, when some people approached him and tried to find out who he was and what he was doing there. Then, one of the event organizers came up to Hakob Karapetian and hit the journalist swearing at him. As it was later revealed, the assaulter was Ashot Papayan, member of Yerevan Council of Elders from the RPA, who is again running in these elections by the RPA electoral list. The men took away the video camera from Hakob Karapetian, and not long after returned it, but with deleted files. The articles of iLur.am, dealing with the incident, also reported that the Police Major was also present during the happening. However, the policeman did not intervene, and told the journalist later that he had called the police department (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 19-25, 2013). 

On April 25, RA Police informed that in connection with the incident, the RA Head of Police Vladimir Gasparian has reprimanded the police officer, “who failed to carry out his duties at a public event”, as well as severely reprimanded the immediate head of the police officer, and has dismissed the Deputy Head of Nor Nork Police Department of Yerevan. At the same time, the Police does not provide the names of the policemen, who were subject to disciplinary action.

On April 26, “Asparez” Journalists Club of Gyumri, Investigative Journalists NGO, Yerevan Press Club, Internews Media Support NGO, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression and “Journalists for the Future” NGO made a statement, condemning the attack against iLur.am correspondent and urged the authorities to punish the persons who are guilty. The journalistic NGOs highlighted the fact that no excuses will be admitted, if the assaulters remain unpunished, since the disclosure of the crime does not present any difficulties. “If this crime does not entail any consequences, we will consider the numerous statements of police administration about its political impartiality as a mere flow of words,” the statement stressed (later, it was signed by some other 15 NGOs).

Meanwhile, on April 27, in the center of Yerevan an incident occurred between Ani Hovhannisian, correspondent of Hetq.am (online publication of  Investigative Journalists), and police officer Vardan Ghukasian. In the article, published on the same day, “V. Ghukasian (Nickname Dog) Pushed and Insulted ‘Hetq’ Reporter”, Ani Hovhannisian wrote that she was walking around the Northern Avenue, when she saw how two policemen were demanding from a street musician to pack up and come to the police station with them. When the journalist asked the police officers why they want to take the musician to the police station, a civilian approached her. The man insulted the journalist and then rudely pushed her (the article also contained a video). The civilian turned out to be police officer Vardan Ghukasian.

On April 28, the “Hetq” article, “Policeman Who Insulted and Pushed ‘Hetq’ Reporter Gets Fired”, reported  that the RA Head of Police Vladimir Gasparian convened a meeting to discuss the Northern Avenue incident. Referring to Ashot Aharonian, the Head of the RA Police PR and Information Department, “Hetq” informed that Vardan Ghukasian was dismissed from duties upon the results of an official investigation.