August 28, 2023, Yerevan
On August 26, a soldier of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Goris did not allow an employee of “Azatutyun” radio station to film several dozen Artsakh citizens who passed through the Lachin Corridor accompanied by peacekeepers and reached the territory of Armenia. Without any explanation, the serviceman demanded to stop filming and practically did not allow the media representative continue the work.
We, the undersigned organizations, record with deep concern that this is by no means the first case when Russian peacekeepers intervene in the activities of Armenian media. Such incidents became more frequent since December 12 last year, when Azerbaijani “environmentalists-activists” closed the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world. In particular, in our statement of December 27, 2022, we noted that journalists and representatives of “Azatutyun” radio station, “Factor.am” and “Civilnet” news sites, Journalists’ Club “Asparez”, other mass media and representatives of specialized organizations faced similar obstacles to their work.
This is happening in a situation where the Azerbaijani media are filming unhindered at the same checkpoint, showing close-ups of people leaving Artsakh for Armenia, including medical patients, without their consent and interfering with their private lives, while Russian peacekeepers do not apply any restrictions. This is a clearly discriminatory approach, which is unacceptable and condemnable.
Considering the above, we reaffirm our demand to the Government of the Republic of Armenia, to immediately initiate negotiations with the command of the peacekeeping mission and, if necessary, also with the heads of the responsible state structures of the Russian Federation, in order to clearly regulate and facilitate the work of representatives of the Armenian mass media in the Lachine Corridor and other adjacent areas.
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