19 August, 2020, Yerevan
Yesterday, on 18 August, in the midst of a promenade-protest act held in protection of Amulsar and Jermuk, the police officers obstructed the professional activity of a group of journalists. In particular, having let part of the activists and citizens past the open gates of the NA park, the law enforcement officers did not allow the media representatives to enter the premises and to cover the event. Later, they were asked to obtain a permission from the chief of the NA staff to be able to shoot. Following a half-an-hour exchange of arguments the same police officers finally let the journalists in, having registered their names, surnames, patronymics and the name of the media outlet.
We, the undersigned organisations, note that this is not the first case in the period of the emergency situation due to the coronavirus pandemic when the police officers interprete laws and journalists’ rights in a distinct way and interfere with the rights of the media. It is pertinent to recall the requirements on the media to remove publications which “inspired panic”, as well as selective visits to certain TV companies and instituting administrative proceedings during TV programmes for failure to wear masks.
In view of the aforesaid, we demand.
– From the RA Police to institute an inquiry to detect those officers who have obstructed the lawful journalistic activity at the entrance of the NA park on 18 August and to held them liable;
– From the RA Government to clearly instruct the law enforcement to remain within the boundaries of their powers and not to use the emergency conditions as an excuse to interfere and unlawfully restrict journalistic activity.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GORIS PRESS CLUB