Reconfirming our assessments and demands mentioned in the April 19 Statement, below we present the cases of violence against the journalists and impeding their professional activities during April 20-22.
On April 22, at night, Anatoli Yeghiazaryan, program director of Radio “Liberty”, was beaten by police officers in the Garegin Nzhdeh square. According to the radio “Liberty”, the incident occurred, when Yeghiazaryan, who was coming back home from work, tried to film with his mobile phone how approximately fifty police officers were attempting to disperse the peaceful protesters via using force. Noticing that their actions were being filmed, 6-7 policemen attacked Yeghiazaryan, although he showed them his badge and repeatedly told them he represented Radio “Liberty”.
Liana Yeghiazaryan, correspondent from “Radiolur”, was injured when special means were applied during operations against the protesters in Artsakh-Erebuni intersection. According to “Armradio.am” website, she managed to reach the building of Public Radio, where emergency employees provided first aid and advised to go to hospital.
In the same intersection Hambardzum Papoyan and Armen Petrosyan, cameramen from “Gala” TV company, were also injured when the police officers applied special means. Policemen also used violence against Petrosyan. Citizens provided first aid to the unconscious cameraman, and the emergency vehicle took him to hospital.
Artak Khulyan, correspondent from “Shantnews.am”, who was covering the protests in Erebuni community, informed that stones were thrown at him and then he was tazed.
In the Republic Square a police officer wearing a black balaclava attacked Naira Bulghadaryan, journalist from Radio “Liberty”, hit her hand and dropped the camera thus impeding her filming. The live broadcasting clearly showed the police officers running and then the journalist’s camera happened on the ground while filming. In reply to the complaint by Naria Bulghadaryan, Valeri Osipyan, deputy chief of Yerevan police department, said: “The police are carrying out a special operation, so stand in such a place where the cameras won’t be damaged.”
The police officers also hindered the work of Gayane Asryan, journalist from “Media.am”. In the Erebuni-Artsakh intersection, during a clash between the protestors and the police officers, she was beaten by an officer wearing a black balaclava. The reason was that the journalist witnessed the police officers throwing dazzle grenades at the protesters and beating them.
In Avan administrative district of Yerevan, unknown people wearing masks beat Vruyr Tadevosyan, producer of the Public radio. Seeing that he was filming, people wearing civilian clothes approached him, asked what he had been filming, snatched and broke his iPad and the phone, beat him with batons and broke the car.
On the same day in the evening, on the crossroad of Sayat-Nova-Mashtots Avenue, a policeman hit Aza Sargsyan, correspondent of the Public Radio, trying to hinder the live-streaming.
In the morning of April 21, in the 7th district of Nor Nork in Yerevan, they damaged the camera of the Factor.TV’s during the pushing which arouse as a result of the march by Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters.
People wearing civilian clothing physically attacked Arus Hakobyan, correspondent from Radio “Liberty”, and caused bodily injuries while she was covering the protests nearby Artashat. The police officers who were on the scene took no actions to prevent the violence.
On the same day, Ani Grigoryan, journalist from “CivilNet.am” was attacked the house of Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan, located in Avan district. A person wearing civilian clothing became discontent with the journalist’s question about the reason for the gathering of people there, who were not participating in the demonstrations. It is noteworthy that violence against demonstrators and journalists by people in civilian clothing is becoming widespread. Apparently people gathered around the Mayor’s house represented a similar group.
Two more journalists from “CivilNet.am” suffered from actions by the police officers. Via using force they impeded Tatul Hakobyan to film at the moment, when presumably an attempt was made to isolate and apprehend Nikol Pashinyan, MP and leader of the “Take a Step, Reject Serzh” movement. Besides, one of the red berets hit in the back of Alina Nikoghosyan, journalist from “CivilNet.am”, when the latter was filming the apprehension of demonstrators near Mashtots avenue-Amiryan street intersection.
On April 20, Tirayr Muradyan, journalist from “Sut.am”, was apprehended from Yerevan-Abovyan highway. Although he was wearing a journalist’s badge, he was forcefully put into a police car and only after a while he was brought back to the same place.
At an intersection in Nor Nork, a person in civilian clothing who was using violence against the demonstrators, seeing that Tehmine Yenokyan, journalist from “Lragir.am” is filming their actions, hit her on the head. A woman, who happened to be there at that moment, pulled her by the hair and another woman tore off the cord of her bag. According to Tehmine Yenokyan, the witnessing citizens said that the people who used violence, introduced themselves as municipality employees, who later had friendly communication with the police officers who arrived.
On the same day, near Mashtots park, when the demonstrators marched from Amiryan street to Mashtots avenue, the police officers attempted to apprehend the journalists from “News.am” and Radio “Liberty”, who were covering the actions by the police. In the opinion of the journalists, they were probably taken for the demonstrators.
We continue following the events, recording the violations against the journalists and reconfirming our demand to stop violence and to punish those who are guilty.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER OF ARMENIA
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
ARMENIAN HELSINKI COMMITTEE
“RULE OF LAW” NGO
“HUMAN RIGHTS POWER” NGO
HELSINKI CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY-VANADZOR
OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS ARMENIA
PUBLIC AGENDA NGO
This statement is open to join in.