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.
Yesterday, on October 26, 2016, Gagik Tsarukyan, RA National Assembly deputy and businessman, made insulting remarks towards Sisak Gabrielyan, correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service.
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.
Yesterday, on August 1, 2016, at the meeting with the representatives of the public, authorities and the clergy RA President Serzh Sargsyan in his speech on the situation resulted by the capture of the RA Police Patrol-Guard Service regiment by “Sasna Tsrer” armed group, apologized to the journalists who had been subjected to violence and whose legitimate professional activities had been impeded by the law enforcement bodies during the dispersal of the protest actions in Sari Tagh district and Khorenatsi street of Yerevan on July 29, 2016.
During the clampdown on the demonstrations in Sari Tagh and Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan in the evening of July 29 the police forces targeted journalists again. In the result of the use of force our colleagues were injured: Hovhannes Movsisyan, Karlen Aslanyan and Garik Harutiunyan (Radio Liberty), Robert Ananyan and Tigran Badalyan (A1+), Mariam Gevorgyan and Davit Harutiunyan (1in.am), Gevorg Ghazaryan (freelance photo reporter), Hovik Grigoryan (Panorama.am), Aghvan Asoyan and Albert Galstyan (Armenia TV), Sargis Kharazyan and Mkrtich Karapetyan (Civilnet.am), Marut Vanyan (Lragir.am).
On July 27th, around 3:30 AM, the Shengavit Police Department arrested one of the active participants of the mass rally taking place on Khorenatsi street in Yerevan, Levon Barseghyan who is the chairman of the “Asparez” Journalists’ Club, Gyumri .
Subsequently a criminal case was filed against him for allegedly carrying a lethal weapon and Barseghyan was subjected to a forensic examination.
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.
Today marks a year since the Armenian authorities dispersed with the use of brutal force the June 23, 2015 protest action against hike in electricity tariffs on Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan. During those events physical violence was exerted against 13 correspondents and cameramen, and the legitimate professional activities of 24 various media representatives were obstructed.
On April 22 the police again used violence and hindered the lawful professional activities on Baghramyan Avenue. This time the targets were the cameramen of the news website 1in.am Narek Barseghyan and Sevak Soghomonyan who were covering the protest march of We Are the Masters of Our Country Civil Initiative to the president’s office.
On April 13 an attempt was made at the General Jurisdiction Court of Shengavit Administrative District to restrict unlawfully the lawful professional activities of Ami Chichakyan, the reporter of Aravot.am. The reporter had arrived at the court to cover the trial of Venera Torosyan, the chairperson of the district electoral committee accused of multiple voting for other persons on the day of the referendum to constitutional amendments.