The elections of Yerevan Municipality members turned out to be quite strained for journalists. Comparing these elections with the elections held in 2012-2013 (parliamentary elections, local elections and presidential elections) we can notice that during these ones no cases of physical violence towards journalists were fixed. However, some people involved in electoral processes caused such situations at the polling stations, in which it became clear that the attitude towards journalists is not that good. From the other side, various political forces and in some cases even non-governmental organizations, adapted a journalist’s status to their purposes, introducing their activists as “journalists”. As a result, the real journalists appeared in a double strained situation. The latter could also expose the “journalists” for a day by their inadequate behavior.
In this regard, an incident occurred to the journalist of the “1in.am”, Armine Avetyan at the polling station 8/06, is worth mentioning. Hrachya Mkrtchyan, who had introduced a certificate of a journalist from the “Kentron TV,” attacked upon Armine and rudely demanded to register herself in the register of the polling station, “forgetting” that the journalist has no right to introduce oneself such a demand. Armine Avetyan, got registered and implemented het professional duties, indeed. However, having got upset because of the incident, she left the polling station sooner than it was intended in advance. Unfortunately, this is not the only case of an aggressive behavior of the fake journalists.
The behavior of those, who being at polling stations and near them behaved rudely towards journalists, threatened them creating different obstacles and causing psychological strain is more disgusting. Thus, the journalist of the “Radio Liberty,” Irina Hovhannisyan, getting an alarm about bribe distribution, went to the polling station 2/3, and some young people gathered around the polling station, seeing the camera, turned back, and afterwards, hearing the command of another person “Come upstairs, don’t you see the camera?” went away. One of them showing out his phone threatened the journalist saying, “Don’t make a record otherwise I’ll strike this at your head.” Somewhere near the polling stations 1/09 and 1/10 a woman threatened the same journalist shouting, “Don’t make me break your camera.”
Some people threatening the journalist form the “1in.am,” Siranuysh Papyan, and the journalist from the “Aravot” daily, Hripsime Jebejyan, demanded not to take photos and not to make records. In one case, the policemen responsible for the security of the polling station did not intervene, and in the other case they adjusted the situation. There was also a case, when a representative of a political power closed the camera of a journalist and pushed it away. This incident occurred to the journalist of the “Radio Liberty,” Karine Aslanyan at the polling station 8/08. Another incident also occurred in this polling station. A group of members of the Republican party, rushing into the polling station demanded that the representative of the “Asparez.am” web-site and the newspaper “Gyumri-Asparez”, Karen Harutyunyan leave the polling station, threatened that they will “break his head,” after which the charging battery of Karen’s camera disappeared. After being found, the camera was given to the police, in order to find out who had stolen it.
Thus, the fact that the intolerance towards journalists during the elections reaches the highest level was proved once more. From the other side, the journalists seem to have acquired immunity towards various pressures and overcoming them accomplished their mission during these elections either.