OSCE Representative Condemns Attacks on Journalists in Armenia
Journalists’ safety must be ensured at all times, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said, following recent incidents and coercive actions by police against journalists covering public protest in Yerevan against the rise in electricity rate, the OSCE official website reports.
“Media has the right to cover public events and journalists must be able to report in a free and safe manner, without fear of harassment and intimidation,” Mijatović said.
On 23 June journalists from various media outlets, including Radio Azatutyun (RFE/RL), Hetq.am, Gala TV, Haykakan Zhamanak, News.am, PanArmenian.net, Epress.am, 1in.am, and ArmTimes.com, were physically attacked, mistreated, verbally assaulted and detained by police while covering a public demonstration in Yerevan. Some journalists also had their equipment damaged or seized.
“I call on the authorities to promptly investigate these incidents and take steps to ensure restraint on the part of law enforcement representatives toward members of the media,” Mijatović said.
Late on Monday, after a three-day sit-in at Freedom Square in central Yerevan, protesters tried to march toward Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan’s office at 26 Baghramyan. However, hundreds of armed police officers, forming a barricade, closed the road, not allowing demonstrators to get any closer to the presidential palace. Protesters then sat in the middle of the road at the intersection of Baghramyan and Isahakyan streets, staging an impromptu sit-in outside the presidential office.