On May 26, eight journalistic associations, including Yerevan Press Club, issued a statement condemning the offensive behavior of four deputies of the National Assembly of Armenia towards parliamentary journalists.
The parliamentary four-day sittings of May 19-22 were marked by explicitly aggressive and indecent behaviors on behalf of MPs towards journalists, the statement reads.
As we have reported, on May 19, Shushan Petrosian, MP from the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), got infuriated by a question from the correspondent of Armenian Service of Radio Liberty about the May 17 shooting in downtown Yerevan. “All of you are immoral”, the MP told the journalists.
On May 21, Melik Manukian, MP from the “Prosperous Armenia” party, behaved vulgarly with the correspondent of “Hraparak” daily who had inquired about the opinion of the deputy on the program of the new Government, presented at the four-day parliamentary sittings.
On May 22, another MP from RPA, Mher Sedrakian, used foul language addressing the correspondent of Tert.am who asked him a question.
On the same day, May 22, MP Araik Grigorian, in drunken condition, behaved indecently with Fnews.am correspondent.
The journalist NGOs’ statement notes that Shushan Petrosian was the only one among the four MPs who tried to come up with explanations in the media, but the latter turned out to be unconvincing and inadequate to her offensive expression. The other three did not bother to apologize, the authors of the statement wrote, recalling a similar incident involving indecent behavior of Mher Sedrakian in December 2012 in relation to the correspondent of “A1+” TV company.
The media organizations demand:
– The parliamentary factions of RPA and “Prosperous Armenia” to bring the above-mentioned incidents for discussion and publicly give appropriate assessments;
– The Prosecutor’s Office to consider this statement, as far as Mher Sedrakian’ incident is concerned, as a report on crime, in case Sedrakian does not publicly apologize to Tert.am correspondent.
Media NGOs urged the journalists who had been insulted to file complaints to National Assembly Committee on Ethics. They also called upon the journalistic community of the country to show professional solidarity and to provide moral support to their colleagues, as well as to express their disapproval of indecent behavior of MPs.
The statement was signed by Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Media Initiatives Center (formerly Internews Armenia), “Asparez” Jornalists’ Club, Media Diversity Institute-Armenia, Public Journalism Club,