December 6, 2020, Yerevan
On December 5, in Liberty Square in Yerevan, where a rally organized by 16 opposition political forces was taking place, the lawful professional activity of “1in.am” news website operator Rafael Karamyan was hindered. When he came to the square and started filming, a group of protesters, noticing the “1in.am” logo on the camera, approached and demanded to stop filming. The demand was accompanied by swearing and threats, addressed at the operator, and expressions of intolerance towards the given media outlet. Rafael Karamyan had to turn off the camera and leave.
We, the undersigned journalistic organizations, express our indignation over the obstruction of the activities of media representatives. We strongly condemn acts, targeting a media outlet or journalist, and any manifestation of discrimination of this kind. By the way, Sargis Harutyunyan, an “Radio Liberty” correspondent, was insulted while covering the rally and the following march.
We have mentioned multiply that the overwhelming majority of the country’s media sector actors are under various political influences. However, this should not be an occasion for the representatives or supporters of political forces to hinder the lawful activities of this or that media outlet employee. Meanwhile, recently the number of such facts has increased noticeably, with the representatives of both the government and the opposition treating journalists that do not adhere to their camp with unhidden contempt. Expressions of such intolerance in this critical time for Armenia can pose a serious threat to freedom of speech.
Taking the above-stated into account, we demand:
- From the RA Police to disclose the identities of the persons who hindered the activity of the “am” news site operator, hold them accountable, exclude the repetition of such incidents during rallies and other public events,
- From political forces to publicly condemn any form of pressure on journalists and the media, and ensure that party members and supporters refrain from such actions.
We call on all our fellow citizens who realize the importance of receiving information to treat media representatives, performing, their professional duties, with due respect.
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 THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB