On the obstruction of professional activity of Mass Media representatives during the protest action organized by displaced citizens from Artsakh in the building of the NKR representation in Armenia
On October 20, 2023, in the NKR Representation building in Yerevan, media representatives faced hindrances while covering the gathering of citizens forcibly displaced from Artsakh. More specifically, as these journalists attempted to ask questions to Artsakh’s President Samvel Shahramanyan, individuals around him employed offensive language and exhibited disrespect towards the journalists that were carrying out their professional duties. Videos circulated online vividly show the attempts to snatch the phone from the “5th Channel” reporter Arpi Sukiasyan, who was using it for filming. Additionally, the footage shows Samvel Shahramanyan pushing the hand of “Factor.am” reporter Arpi Hakobyan, who was holding the microphone out to him. There were also cases of obstructions by police officers.
We, the undersigned journalistic organizations, fully understand the severe emotional distress and overstrain experienced by the people displaced from Artsakh. Nevertheless, we believe that in these extremely challenging circumstances everyone should not lose self-control and refrain from worsening the situation through their behavior. From this standpoint, the incidents that occurred in the Artsakh Representation, along with verbal abuse and pressure against journalists and cameramen, are even more unacceptable and reprehensible.
Based on the above, we demand:
• the law enforcement agencies to identify and bring to justice the persons who committed illegal acts against media representatives;
• the representatives of the Artsakh government who have moved to Yerevan, when organizing any gathering, as well as dealing with spontaneous actions, to demonstrate a responsible approach to keep the situation under control and avert confrontations, preventing violations of the rights of journalists, recognize the significance of media freedom and role in keeping the public, including those displaced from Artsakh, informed.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB