Regarding the acts of violence against the journalists covering the protests in Yerevan
During a week of protests in Yerevan, and the authorities’ counter actions against them, journalists and media also became target of attacks.
On April 19, 2018, near the RA Government Building 3, people in civilian clothing beat Tirayr Muradyan, correspondent of “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO. According to the journalist, the attackers were police officers, which upon noticing that they had captured the correspondent’s attention, assaulted him.
On April 18, 2018, by order of the Deputy Chief of RA Police Hunan Poghosyan, Narek Kirakosyan, correspondent of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, was persecuted for having photographed the armored vehicles on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue.
Late in the evening of April 17, 2018, near Mashtots Avenue-Tumanyan Street intersection, a group of people attacked the Editor-in-Chief of Factor.am Arevik Sahakyan and cameraman Gevorg Martirosyan, who were covering the events happening there.
On April 16, 2018, on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue, as a result of the use of special means by police, 168.am correspondent Ani Keshishyan, and Factor.am cameraman Hovhannes Sargsyan were injured. The latter’s coworker Vrezh Margaryan’s video camera and live broadcast device were also damaged.
On April 14, 2018, a group of protesters led by Nikol Pashinyan broke into the building of Public Radio of Armenia, broke down the door of the studio and demanded to immediately be provided with radio air.
While a criminal case has been instituted on the Public Radio incident and there are already two detainees, in other cases law-enforcement bodies are reluctant to identify the perpetrators in spite of the existence of photo and video materials. This gives grounds to speak of a discriminatory approach by the law-enforcement agencies.
Taking into consideration the tense socio-political situation, we, the undersigned, demand from:
– The law-enforcement agencies to promptly identify and subject to liability those who have committed attacks on journalists and have obstructed their professional activities;
– The RA Police and those persons in civilian clothing working under its umbrella to be tolerant and respectful to the representatives of the media covering the events, to refrain from unreasonable restrictions on the activities of journalists and cameramen, as well as statements addressed to the media, which further aggravate the situation;
– The RA Prosecutor’s Office to exercise due control over the actions of the police and investigative bodies.
We also urge the participants and supporters of “My Step” and “Reject Serzh” initiatives to demonstrate restraint and tolerance towards the media and journalists.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE”
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”
GORIS PRESS CLUB
HELSINKI COMMITTEE OF ARMENIA
“RULE OF LAW”
“HUMAN RIGHTS POWER”
The statement is open for signatures