OSCE Media freedom rep. urges protection for journalists in Armenia

By Asbarez | Monday, 01 August 2016

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović on February 14, 2013 (Photo: OSCE/Colin Peters)

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović on February 14, 2013 (Photo: OSCE/Colin Peters)

VIENNA (OSCE)— At the end of the siege of police headquarters in Yerevan, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović on Monday sought reassurance from the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Eduard Nalbandian, that journalists’ rights and safety during times of civil unrest would be protected.

Mijatović wrote to Nalbandian indicating that the government “should implement practical steps to ensure restraint on the part of law enforcement representatives toward members of the media and suggested steps should be taken by the authorities to guarantee that the press is not targeted by the police or thugs. The police should be protecting journalists and members of the media.”

According to reports, on July 29 media reporting on the forced dispersal of demonstrators in the Sari Tagh district and other events were attacked, beaten and had their equipment destroyed. In some cases, the attackers were uniformed police; in others, civilians armed with metal rods.

Those attacked include:

Reporter Aghvan Asoyan and camera operator Albert Galstyan, Armenia TV;

Journalist Mariam Grigoryan and camera operator Davit Harutyunyan, Arajin Lratvakan;

Reporters Karlen Aslanyan and Hovhannes Movsisyan and camera operator Garik Harutyunyan, Azatutyun;

Reporter Robert Ananyan and camera operator Tigran Badalyan, A1+ TV;

Camera operator Marut Vanyan, Lragir.am;

Journalists Sargis Kharazyan and Mkrtich Karapetyan, CivilNet;

Reporter Hovik Grigoryan, Panorama.am;

Camera operator Tigran Gasparyan, Life.ru.

Mijatović also noted in the letter the statement published by the Armenian media NGOs of July 21 about the police attacks on journalists that took place in Yerevan days and weeks earlier. The victims included:

Gevorg Tosunyan, journalist from iravaban.net;

Artak Hambardzumyan, reporter from Azatutyun;

Arthur Hayrapetyan, reporter from 4news.am; and

Tehmine Yenoqyan, reporter from lragir.am.