Incidents with journalists in post-election period

On the evening of February 27 a group of men in civilian cloths interfered with the work of the correspondent of the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Erik Ghazarian in Yerevan. The Armenian Service of Radio Liberty informed YPC, that the journalist was accompanying RA National Assembly deputies from the “Heritage” party Zarouhi Postanjian and Stepan Safaryan, along with representatives of the non-governmental organizations, who came to the Police Department of Kentron community of Yerevan, to find out reasons, for detention of two young men during the protest action of Armenian presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters on the same day. In the course of conversation with the police officials the deputies also tried to find out why are the above mentioned men stationed in
the police building for already a lengthy period of time. The latter didn’t like this, and they used force to push the deputies and the people accompanying them out of the building, taking away the microphone from Erik Ghazarian and throwing it out of window. After this they set in the cars and drove away.
In the morning of February 28, the correspondent of “Hayk” newspaper Artak Yeghiazarian and his father – head of one of “Republic” party’s territorial branches Lyova Yeghiazarian, were taken to the Police Department Nor Nork community of Yerevan from their apartment. According to Artak Yeghiazarian, they were charged for violation of Article 180.1 of RA Code on
Administrative Infringements of Law (“Violation of procedure for conducting meetings, demonstrations, marches and rallies”). The journalist was released approximately after two hours – only after writing an explanatory note that he was present at rallies of various political forces carrying out his professional duties. An administrative case is filed against the
journalist’s father.
In the morning of February 29, on Yerevan’s Theatre square, where the protest action of Armenian presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian supporters was taking place, the police officers attacked freelance photojournalist Gagik Shamshian. According to the latter, having noticed that he has started photographing them, several police officers attacked him and started beating, while swearing at the same time. The beating of the journalist stopped only after people in the square interfered. The attackers tore journalist’s coat and damaged his camera. On the next day, morning of March 1, Gagik Shamshian was detained on the Theatre square, during the Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters dispersal operation carried out by the
law-enforcement bodies. According to the journalist, his photo-camera was taken away, he was beaten and taken to the Yerevan Police in handcuffs. From here he was re-directed to the Police Department of Kentron community, and later – to the Police Department of Kanaker-Zeitun community of Yerevan. Gagik Shamshian said that he was able to inform his lawyer, several journalists and the RA Human Rights Defender about his location. While in
the Police Department, Gagik Shamshian needed medical treatment, so he was taken to the hospital and returned back. The journalist was released only at midnight, after the intervention of RA Human Rights Defender’s staff.
YPC was informed by Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that in the evening of March 1, during the rally at the French Embassy, the law-enforcement officials interfered with the work of the Radio Liberty correspondent Ruzanna Stepanian and beat the driver of their service car, although the latter introduced himself as an employee of a media.
On March 2, during a rally in Gyumri, the representatives of the law-enforcement bodies hindered the work of “GALA” TV film crew. According to “Asparez” Journalist’s Club of Gyumri, all three members of the film crew, including the correspondent of “GALA” Armine Vardanian were taken to Gyumri Police Department and released only after 3 hours. On the same rally the representatives of law-enforcement bodies took away the photocamera of “Aravot” daily correspondent in Gyumri Nune Arevshatian, which was handed back to her only after interference of citizens close by. The police officers threatened and insulted the correspondent of the Armenian Service of Radio Liberty in Gyumri Satenik Vantsyan, until the moment, when they came to realize, that she is conducting a live reportage from the scene of events. At the same time the Board Chairman of “Asparez” Journalist’s Club Levon Barseghian was detained. The head of “Asparez” spent more then five hours in police. As Levon Barseghian told YPC, he has been informed, that the Gyumri Police Department has applied to court, charging him under
Article 182 of RA Code on Administrative Infringements of Law (“Ill-intentioned disobedience to the legal demand of a police or military officer”). Levon Barseghyan in his turn intends to file a counter claim at court.

Source: YPC Newsletter

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant