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The journalist of pro-opposition “Haykakan Zhamanak” (Armenian Times) newspaper Lusine Barseghyan was attacked on August 11, 2008. The girl was beaten by ‘skin-heads’ and was made to understand, that the attack is related to her professional activities.
This is not the first attack on a journalist in Armenia and it is evidently not the last one. Journalist x, y, z were beaten this year because they criticized a, b, c semi-criminal government official, oligarch, mayor, district head, police chef… feudal lord.
There are today two types of people creating news content in Armenia – real journalists and ‘palace poets’ – those, who say they are journalists, but who will only write something, once they have checked if their owner doesn’t object.
Real journalists in this country are further categorized into those who have been beaten, and those, who haven’t been beaten… yet. Because, you see, in order to practice journalism, the journalist has to mirror the reality in the country. And when this or that ‘feudal lord’ sees their ugly face in that mirror, they send their little army of ‘skin heads’ to beat the journalist who held that mirror to their face.
Can anything be done? I guess no. Because the president of this country is the biggest ‘feudal lord’… because the opposition in this country also consists of similar ‘feudal lords’… because nobody is really interested in having journalists mirror the reality in this country – because the reality is ugly and because those, who have some kind of power in this country, make use of that ugly reality to gain profits and retain that power… because everything has been done since th 90’s to make sure, that the media doesn’t gain power and doesn’t turn into media business which serves the functions of informing people, rather then being the servant of power elites. Unfortunately, the only advice I can give journalists in Armenia, is to carry bandages and pain-killer medication with them at all times… because the beatings will continue.