On July 21, at around 03։00-03։30, Gevorg Tosunyan, the reporter of Iravaban.net, was beaten by a group of persons while performing his legitimate professional activities. He had gone there to cover the actions of the demonstrators and law enforcement agencies relating to the storming of the Police Patrol Service regiment on Khorenatsi Street, Yerevan. In particular, the journalist captured activists and a group of plainclothes people, policemen as suggested by Gevorg Tosunyan, throwing stones at each other. The latter noticed that they were being videoed, attacked the journalist, pushed him, hit him many times, then seized by force the memory card of his camera. Gevorg Tosunyan reported the incident to the police.
Two days before this incident, on July 19, a uniformed police officer intentionally hit Artak Hambardzumyan, the reporter of Radio Liberty, while covering the same events. When the journalist reported this to a high-ranking officer at the scene, he cynically denied that something of the kind had happened.
On the first day of those events, on July 17, the policeman who swore and hit Artur Hairapetyan, the reporter of 4news.am covering the demonstration on Freedom Square, also denied having used force against the journalist unlawfully, at the same time continuing the violence. The policeman seized the journalist’s telephone and returned it only after erasing the videos.
The correspondent for Lragir.am Tehmine Yenokyan also reported that her videos had been erased.
We the undersigned, expressing our indignation about the recurrent unlawful violence used against journalists, and reminding that the atrocities against media workers on Baghramyan Avenue on 23 June 2015 have not been forgotten, demand that:
– The Police of Armenia end use of brutal force and stop setting various hindrances to reporters performing their professional duties, which is not justified by anything, not to cause even more tension at this critical period for the country, create favorable conditions for proper coverage of the events that have a crucial importance for the country;
– The Prosecutor General’s Office launch criminal proceedings on the facts of hindering of the legitimate professional activities of reporters and unlawful use of force by police officers based on the media reports, as well as the facts listed in this statement.
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
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE NGO
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB