On September 22, six journalistic organizations, including Yerevan Press Club, issued a statement condemning the aggressive behavior of Artyusha Karapetian, the head of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan, towards Taguhi Hovhannisian, correspondent of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily.
The incident took place in Yerevan on September 19, near the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, where the 5th Armenia-Diaspora Forum kicked off on the same day. According to “Haikakan Zhamanak”, Taguhi Hovhannisian approached Artyusha Karapetian with some questions regarding the Forum, to which Karapetian responded normally. However, when the journalist asked Karapetian to comment on the recent publications in the Armenian press, where representatives of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan are criticizing the work of Artyusha Karapetian as the community leader, Karapetian grabbed the voice recorder from the hands of the journalist and threw it away. Later that day, Taguhi Hovhannisian tried to take a photo of the head of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan with her mobile phone, but Artyusha Karapetian ordered his bodyguards to “get rid” of the journalist. One of the bodyguards, whose badge read “A.Abrahamian”, seized the journalist’s phone and returned it after deleting all the taken photos, writes “Haikakan Zhamanak”.
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Media Initiatives Center (former Internews Armenia), “Asparez” Jornalists’ Club, Media Diversity Institute-Armenia and “Journalists for the Future” NGO regarded the incident as obstruction of the professional activities of “Haikakan Zhamanak” correspondent by the head of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan.
The media NGOs welcomed the reactions of the Forum organizers who condemned the incident. At the same time, the authors of the statement once again reminded that “obstruction of journalistic activities is a criminal offence, and the incident should be followed by an adequate reaction of the law enforcement bodies”.
Journalistic organizations demanded the RA Prosecutor’s Office to consider their statement along with the press publications on the incident, as a report on the crime and take appropriate measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On September 25, News.am, referring to the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office, reported that the media publications on the incident between the head of the Armenian community of Kazakhstan and “Haikakan Zhamanak” correspondent are forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan for consideration.