The third quarter of 2016 was a period of many cases of violence against the representatives of media and impediments of their professional activity. Moreover, most of those cases of violence were conducted by the law enforcement bodies via abusing their power.
The successive wave of violating the journalists’ and mass media rights rose in the second half of July, during the coverage of the events that developed in Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan and in Sari Tagh after armed attack by the “Sasna Tsrer” grouping on the patrol service regiment of the RA Police. The culmination of that was at night from July 29 to 30, when the police, while dispersing the protesters, applied special means against the journalists and the cameramen, as well. On that day, 16 employees from various media outlets were subjected to physical violence. Three more representatives of mass media became a target for attack during the period from July 17 to 29.
One more case of physical violence was registered during the elections for the self-governing bodies held in September
Thus, during the third quarter 5 cases of physical violence have been registered during which 20 journalists and cameramen suffered. Moreover, during the third quarter of this year, the CPFE has registered 16 cases of pressure on mass media and their personnel. Nine cases have been registered related to violation of the right to receive and disseminate information.
A number of registered cases, when high officials, politicians and other famous people said contemptuous and insulting words to journalists, also prove that the political environment is unfavorable for the mass media and journalists’ activity.
In terms of the legislation regulating the activity of the media outlets, the bill drafted by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression and its partners – Yerevan Press Club and Media Initiatives Center, was very important, as it envisages changes and amendments in the RA “Law on TV and Radio.” The authors of the document recommend liberalization of the entry of private multiplexes into the market under the conditions of digital broadcasting, as well as to specify the status of the local TV companies operating in the regions, which continue operating in analogue mode. On September 15, the bill was submitted to 6 factions in the Parliament.
The details of the aforementioned events and problems are introduced in the relevant sections of the report.