Statement

On February 19, the day of the extraordinary session of the National Assembly, the Republican Member of Parliament Mher Sedrakyan behaved extremely brazenly in a contact with reporters. First, as soon as he saw the reporters at the end of the corridor of the parliament building, he said in an audible voice: “What herd is that?” Furthermore, when the press representatives demanded an explanation, the member of parliament pretended innocent but then he uttered a swear word. Furthermore, Mher Sedrakyan tried to take away the reporter for a “private talk”.

Note than this is not the first case this member of parliament behaved in this way towards the reporters accredited in the parliament. For example, on 19 December 2012 he reacted to the attempt of Mher Arshakyan, the reporter of A1+, to ask him a question with a threat to “rip off his chin” and other obscene phrases, and on 22 May 2014 he used a swear word in the address of Tert.am’s reporter. Although the Ethics Committee of the National Assembly has discussed Mher Sedrakyan’s behavior and decided that insult against the reporter of A1+ was a violation of the Code of Conduct of Members of Parliament, apparently this has not produced any influence on the Republican.

We the undersigned organizations, expressing our indignation with Mher Sedrakyan’s disgusting behavior, as well as considering that such cases are multiple, involving other members of parliament and officials too, we demand that:

–       The Republican Party leadership discuss the issue of their fellow party member and hold him responsible, urging him to resign from parliament voluntarily;

–       The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Republican parliamentary group publicly condemn the behavior of this member of parliament, apologize to all the journalists accredited in the National Assembly who have ever been insulted and guarantee that such cases will not repeat.

We will have a reason to state that the behavior of Mher Sedrakyan and others like him is a norm for different levels of the Republican Party and the government unless our demands are met. And since the authorities of Armenia are not capable or do not want to protect journalists from different threats, duress and encroachments, we will have to rely on the international community, calling for application of individual punishments, as is done with regard to people who regularly and demonstratively break laws, avoiding liability in their own country.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

YEREVAN PRESS CLUB

MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER (FORMER INTERNEWS)

ASPAREZ CLUB OF JOURNALISTS

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER

MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA

PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB

JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE NGO

JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS NGO

GORIS PRESS CLUB

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