Armenia: Limited Justice for Police Violence

One-Sided Prosecutions Year After Attacks on Protesters, Journalists

Riot police and barbed wire block protestors from marching down Baghramyan Street in downtown Yerevan on July 30, 2016. © 2016 Giorgi Gogia/Human Rights Watch

Riot police and barbed wire block protestors from marching down Baghramyan Street in downtown Yerevan on July 30, 2016. © 2016 Giorgi Gogia/Human Rights Watch

(Yerevan) –  The Armenian government has failed to ensure full accountability for police violence against largely peaceful protesters and journalists a year ago, Human Rights Watch said today. At the same time the authorities have indicted at least 32 protesters, convicting 21 of them, with 11 sentenced to prison. Continue reading

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Newseum. one-sided museum of journalism history

Newseum 050

“The people have a need to know. Journalists have a right to tell” is the message carried by the Newseum – America’s “most interactive museum” where five centuries of news history meet. I went in and came out blinded and impressed, but once the glaring of shiny exhibits settled down in my eyes and memory, I couldn’t let go of the feeling, that I’ve been somehow deceived.

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Armenian journalists protest detention of bloggers and journalists in Iran?

First through Facebook, than through Unzipped I found out that a group of Armenian journalists and photographers have issued a statement protesting recent arrests and detention of their colleagues and bloggers in Iran, following disputed presidential election and post-election protests in Tehran.

While I support the statement wholeheartedly, something that fells a little uneasy about this statement is the fact, that the same “Armenian journalists and photographers” didn’t seem to move a finger when their collegues were beaten and threatened in Armenia, but in case of Iran – they dash out like this. Is there something I don’t understand?

Online journalists now jailed more than those in any other medium

Reflecting the rising influence of online reporting and commentary, more Internet journalists are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, released today, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that 45 percent of all media workers jailed worldwide are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors. Online journalists represent the largest professional category for the first time in CPJ’s prison census. Continue reading

Attack on Armenian journalist… again!

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.