September 16, 2022, Yerevan
On September 15, 2022 another conflict occurred in the National Assembly between the deputies of the ruling faction and some media representatives accredited in the parliament. Thus, “MediaHub.am” correspondent Ani Gevorgyan and “Civil Contract” faction deputy Kristineh Poghosyan entered into a dispute. In particular, the latter threatened to hit the journalist with her phone, and Ani Gevorgyan said that the deputy’s place is on the street. Tension also arose between “Yerevan.Today” correspondent Suzy Badoyan and CC deputies.
Later, RA NA Speaker Alen Simonyan ordered the law enforcement officers to remove the two journalists from the parliament building, moreover, Ani Gevorgyan was taken out by force, “Yerevan.Today” cameraman Geghaznik Hovakimyan was shoved, “MediaHub.am” cameraman Erik Tovmasyan was ordered out. This step of the head of the parliament is arbitrary and unacceptable, since no restriction can be applied to a journalist accredited in the National Assembly by a verbal instruction, without any discussion and release of an appropriate decision.
Earlier on the same day, “24lurer.am” correspondent Artur Hayrapetyan was subjected to physical violence while covering the protest action organized on Demirchyan Street of Yerevan. The police officers snatched the phone from the journalist’s hand, threw him on the ground and started hitting him, then left him helpless. It should be noted that Artur Hayrapetyan had shown his press badge in advance.
We, the undersigned journalistic organizations, express our indignation towards the above-mentioned incidents and demand:
- the leadership of the National Assembly and “Civil Contract” faction to make the September 15 conflict in the parliament a subject of discussion, to convene a meeting of the Ethics Committee in this regard and to evaluate the behavior of the deputies; in order to avoid additional internal tension in today’s crisis and war situation, to demonstrate more restraint and tolerance towards media representatives; to ensure favorable conditions for the activity of all accredited journalists in the parliament;
- the RA police to carry out an impartial official investigation, identify the officers who abused their power, beat the journalist, and hold them accountable; at the same time, to strictly instruct not to interfere with the work of media representatives performing their professional duties and to create safe conditions for their 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 THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB