Regarding the April 20-22, 2018 violations of the rights of journalists and media during the protests in Armenia
Reaffirming the assessments and demands mentioned in the April 19, 2018 statement, below we present the April 20-22, 2018 cases of violence against journalists and obstruction to their legitimate professional activities.
On the night of April 22, 2018, Anatoly Yeghiazaryan, broadcast producer of Armenian Service of Radio Liberty was beaten by police officers in Garegin Nzhdeh square. According to the radio station, the incident occurred when Anatoly Yeghiazaryan, who was returning home from work, tried to film with his mobile phone about fifty policemen attempting to disperse a peaceful protest through use of force. Noticing that they were being filmed 6-7 police officers attacked Yeghiazaryan despite the fact that he showed his press badge and repeatedly mentioned being a Radio Liberty representative.
Liana Yeghiazaryan, correspondent of “Radiolur” news program of Public Radio of Armenia, was injured when special means were used during the dispersal of the protesters at Artsakh-Erebuni intersection in Yerevan. According to Armradio.am, she managed to reach the building of Public Radio, where she was provided first aid by ambulance crew and was advised to go to hospital.
At the same intersection Hambardzum Papoyan and Armen Petrosyan, cameramen of “GALA” TV company, were also injured as a result of the use of special means by the police. The police officers also used violence against Armen Petrosyan. The journalist lost consciousness, the people nearby provided him first aid, and he was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Shantnews.am correspondent Artak Khulyan, who was covering the protest in Erebuni administrative district of Yerevan, informed that stones had been thrown at him and then electric shocks had been used against him.
In the Republic Square of Yerevan a balaclava-clad police officer attacked Radio Liberty correspondent Naira Bulghadaryan, hit her hand and damaged her camera. The live-streaming clearly showed the police officers running and the journalist’s camera still on appearing on the ground. In response to the complaint by Naira Bulghadaryan, Valeriy Osipyan, Deputy Chief of Yerevan Police, said: “The police are carrying out a special operation, so stand in a place, where your cameras won’t be damaged.”
The police officers also hindered the work of Gayane Asryan, correspondent of Media.am. During a clash between the protesters and the police at Erebuni-Artsakh intersection she was hit by a balaclava-clad policeman. The journalist witnessed the police officers throwing stun grenades at the protesters and beating them.
In Avan administrative district of Yerevan, masked men beat Vruyr Tadevosyan, producer of Public Radio of Armenia. Seeing that he was filming, unidentified men in civilian clothes approached him, snatched his phone, beat him and wrecked his car.
In the evening of the same day, at the crossing of Sayat-Nova-Mashtots avenues in Yerevan, a policeman attacked Aza Sargsyan, correspondent of Public Radio of Armenia, trying to hinder the live-streaming.
In the morning of April 21, 2018, in Nor-Nork 7th micro-district of Yerevan, in a scuffle occurred during the march of Nikol Pashinian and his supporters the camera of Factor.am was damaged.
Men in civilian clothes attacked Arus Hakobyan, correspondent of Radio Liberty, and inflicted injuries while she was covering a protest near the city of Artashat. The police officers present at the scene did not take any actions to prevent the violence.
On the same day, Ani Grigoryan, correspondent of CivilNet.am, was attacked near Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan’s private house located in Avan administrative district of Yerevan. The journalist’s question on the reason for the people not participating in the protest to gather in its venue, caused discontent of the person in civilian clothes. It is noteworthy that cases of violence against protesters and journalists by people in civilian clothes become more frequent: apparently people gathered around the Mayor’s house belonged to a similar group.
Another two representatives of CivilNet.am suffered from the police actions. Thus, through the use of force they impeded Tatul Hakobyan to film the moment, when an attempt was allegedly made to isolate from the protesters and apprehend Nikol Pashinian, RA NA deputy and leader of “Take a Step, Reject Serzh” movement. Besides, one of the red berets violently hit CivilNet.am correspondent Alina Nikoghosyan on the back, when the latter was filming the detention of protesters at Mashtots avenue-Amiryan street crossing of Yerevan.
On April 20, 2018, Sut.am correspondent Tirayr Muradyan was detained on Yerevan-Abovyan highway. Despite the fact that the journalist showed his press badge, he was forced into a police car and only some time later was he brought back to the same place.
At an intersection in Nor-Nork administrative district of Yerevan, an unidentified person from a group of people in civilian clothing, noticing that Lragir.am correspondent Tehmineh Yenokyan was filming their violent actions against the protesters, hit the journalist on the head, while a woman standing there pulled her hair and another woman tore her bag. According to Tehmineh Yenokyan, the eyewitnesses said that the people who used violence, introduced themselves as administrative district employees, and later these very people communicated friendly with the police officers.
On the same day, near Yerevan Mashtots park, when the protesters were turning from Amiryan street to Mashtots avenue, the police officers attempted to apprehend the representatives of News.am and Radio Liberty that were covering the march. However, later the journalists stated that the police had confused them with the demonstrators.
We keep following the developments, recording the cases of assaults against journalists and reaffirm our demand to stop violence and to punish those guilty.
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