One year ago, on the night of July 29-30, 2016, after the attack by the “Sasna tsrer” grouping on the Patrol service regiment of the RA police on Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan, the dramatic events that lasted for two weeks reached their pick. As a result of actions initiated by the authorities, the armed grouping gave in, and the continuing anti-government protests were pressed down through using tear-gas, sound grenades and other special means.
During those operations 27 journalists and cameramen from various media outlets became the target of police officers and persons in civilian clothing receiving their support. 19 out of 27 persons underwent physical violence, and 8 were subject to other impediments of professional activity. Moreover, all these were coupled with deliberate breaking or damaging of the journalists’ photo and video cameras, seizing the memory cards, destroying the films and footages, etc.
The criminal case filed on these incidents continues already one year, and the fact that within the scope of it 21 journalists and cameramen were acknowledged as victims, and only 9 persons were charged, proves that the steps taken by the Special investigative service are inconsistent with the scope of the violence. The unacceptably low effectiveness of the pre-investigation is also proven by the fact that during the last 8 months only one person was accused. Whereas in the videos on the Internet and in the archives of the media outlets several dozens of violators are evidently visible.
We the undersigned, once again remembering the apology by the RA President to the journalists in relation to the July events in 2016, demand from the authorities to be impartial, to conduct the pre-investigation with proper effectiveness and to sanction all those who are to blame, irrespective of the held position. Otherwise, we will have to state, that even large-scale violence and impediments against journalists are being concealed in Armenia.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE –ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB