The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression received a letter from the NA temporary Ethics commission informing that application by the CPFE in relation to violence used by parliamentarian Roubik Hakobyan against Vahe Makaryan, journalist from “Hraparak” daily, “is considered rejected”.
On April 2, 2017, on the RA National Assembly elections voting day, 10 cases of violence, pressure and obstruction of professional activities of journalists were recorded.
Sisak Gabrielyan, correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service, Shoghik Galstyan, Araratnews.am correspondent, and Hayk Petrosyan, Araratnews.am cameraman, were attacked near parliamentary candidate from Republican Party of Armenia Hakob Beglaryan’s electoral headquarters, based on 15 Rustaveli str. in Kond district of Yerevan. In the precinct 9/29, based in the same area, the activities of Tirayr Muradyan, Armtimes.com correspondent, were obstructed, and in the vicinity of Hakob Beglaryan’s another electoral headquarters, in Noragyugh, Armineh Avetisyan, Newsbook.am correspondent, was subjected to pressure: stones were thrown at her, she was threatened to be stabbed. Kristineh Poghosyan, another correspondent of Newsbook.am, was threatened and sworn at in the precinct 10/3 of Sari Tagh district of Yerevan.
On January 30, it was six months since the criminal case was filed on the cases of impeding legitimate professional activity of the mass media representatives in Yerevan Sari Tagh and neighboring areas on the night of July 29-30, 2016. We should remind that protests and military actions following the armed attack by the “Sasna Tsrer” grouping on the patrol service regiment (PSR) of the RA Police went along with large-scale violence by the police and protected by it persons against the journalists and cameramen, and impediments of their legitimate professional activity.
Yesterday, on December 7, 2016, Rubik Hakobyan, deputy of RA National Assembly, used violence against Vahe Makaryan, correspondent of “Hraparak” daily. In the parliament in the presence of the colleagues accredited to the National Assembly, the correspondent turned to the deputy asking a question regarding his former membership to ARF-Dashnaktsutyun and his current relationship with the party. The question annoyed the deputy. Vahe Makaryan’s second attempt to ask a question to the deputy was unsuccessful either and grew into a verbal sparring. Rubik Hakobyan said that he would teach “manners” to the journalist, to which the latter replied he could teach that himself to the deputy.
On November 23, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression with the assistance of the Open Society Foundations – Armenia organized a roundtable on the Challenges for Armenian Regional TV Broadcasters in the Light of Recent Transition to Digital TV Broadcasting. The urgency of this discussion was created by the fact that the termination of analogue TV broadcasting during the week of October 20-26 by the national TV channels led to a situation where 11 regional and local TV broadcasters rapidly lost most of their audience and advertisers and appeared on the thin edge of bankruptcy.
Last week, on November 3, 2016, the heads of six Armenian regional TV companies addressed an open letter to the RA President, Chairman of the RA National Assembly and RA Prime Minister, which noted that after the analogue broadcasting switch-off in the country (Ed. Note: from October 26, 2016) they were deprived of audience and found themselves on the brink of closing down. Overall, 11 regional TV companies met this fate.
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression held a public discussion on October 18 entitled “Transition to Digital Television: Challenges, Problems and Possible Solutions”.
In his opening remarks, the chair of CPFE Ashot Melikyan said the process of switching off analog transmission ends on October 20. According to him, though technically Armenia is ready for digital transmission, some legislative, possibly also social issues have not been resolved.
Four cases of threats and obstruction of legitimate professional activities of journalists have been registered during the elections to local self-government bodies held in the months of September and October 2016. Moreover, two of them have been accompanied by physical violence.
Thus, on September 17, in the precinct 18 of Nor Kyanq community of Ararat region Khazhak Aghabekyan, chairman of the electoral commission, attacked Tigran Mazmanyan, photo correspondent of Araratnews.am, hit his camera, using profanities towards him.