Regarding the obstruction of professional activities of correspondents of the Radio Liberty Armenian Service and “A1+” TV company at Yerevan municipality
On February 19, 2018, the professional activities of Ruzanna Stepanyan, correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service, and Susanna Poghosyan, correspondent of “А1+” TV company, were obstructed at Yerevan municipality. The journalists were at the municipality upon the invitation of Zaruhi Postanjyan, Head of “Yerkir Tsirani” faction at Yerevan Council of Elders. In her interview Zaruhi Postanjyan, in particular, noted that after the February 13, 2018 incident at the Council of Elders session the parking was prohibited for the faction car at the municipality parking lot. Zaruhi Postanjyan also showed the journalists the service personnel room, where people were playing cards during working hours.
Artur Gevorgyan, Head of Information and Public Relations Department of Yerevan municipality, obstructed the work of media representatives, not allowing Zaruhi Postanjyan to speak with the journalists in the municipality building. With the help of the police he blocked the entrance to the office of Council of Elders member and made the journalists leave the building referring to internal regulations that no one has ever heard of.
On the same day, during a working session Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan commissioned to submit proposals regarding the regulation of the activities of journalists in the administrative buildings of the municipality. However, a number of questions arise: what regulations were violated by the camera crews of Radio Liberty and “A1+” on the day of the incident? What does the municipality imply when stating that the activities of journalists are not regulated? And what could be expected now but groundless restrictions?
We, the undersigned, demand:
– Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan to subject to strict liability Artur Gevorgyan, Head of Information and Public Relations Department, for arbitrary behavior, abuse of power and obstruction of legitimate professional activities of media representatives;
– Yerevan Council of Elders to refrain from adopting such regulations, which would envisage groundless restrictions;
– The law-enforcement bodies to institute a criminal case on the incident under Article 164 of the RA Criminal Code (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”).
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE”
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”
GORIS PRESS CLUB