Yesterday, on February 19, at the Yerevan Municipality, they impeded professional activity of Ruzanna Stepanyan and Susanna Poghosyan, correspondents from Radio “Liberty” and “A1+” TV Company respectively. The journalists were there upon the invitation by Zarouhi Postanjyan, Head of the “Yerkir Tsirani” faction in the City Council, who intended to introduce to them a number of problems. In particular, the fact that after the incident that happened during the session of the City Council on February 13, their faction car was not allowed to enter the parking lot of the municipality. Zarouhi Postanjyan also introduced the fact of playing cards in the municipality offices by certain people during the working hours.
The operation of the journalists was intervened by Arthur Gevorgyan, Head of the public relations department of Yerevan Muniucipality. First, he did not allow Zarouhi Postanjyan to continue communicating with the journalists in the municipality building, then with the help of the police officers he forbade them to go to the office of the City Council member and made them leave the building, while referring to an internal regulation that neither the City Council members, nor the mass media representatives are aware of.
During the working session held the same day, Yerevan City Mayor Taron Margaryan assigned to make a recommendation which would regulate the operation of journalists in the administrative buildings of the municipality. However, a number of issues remain pending: what order did the video-shooting crews from “Liberty” and “A1+” violate on that day, so far in what sense the operation of mass media representatives was not regulated, and what can be expected now besides ungrounded restrictions.
We, the undersigned, taking into consideration the aforementioned, demand that
- Mayor Taron Margaryan imposes severe sanctions on Arthur Gevorgyan, Head of the Public relations department of Yerevan Municipality, for demonstrating free-will, and impeding the operation of media representative through abusing his powers,
- Yerevan City Council does not adopt such regulations, which would stipulate ungrounded restrictions for the operation of media outlets and journalists in the Municipality,
- The law enforcement bodies file a criminal case in relation to the aforementioned incident under Article 164 of the RA Criminal Code,e. impeding legitimate professional activity of a journalist.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ “ASPAREZ” CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB