According to reports, there were a number of cases of journalists being hindered in carrying out their duties on the day of the referendum.
In particular, the Representative noted the cases involving the following journalists:
- Rafael Afrikyan of iLur.am news website was attacked at a polling station in Yerevan, his camera and press card were damaged;
- Anush Mkrtchyan of Radio Liberty was obstructed and verbally assaulted at the headquarters of referendum supporters in Yerevan;
- Diana Ghazaryan of the online newspaper Hetq.am was verbally assaulted at a polling station in Yerevan, her journalist’s notebook was briefly seized.
Reportedly, the prosecutor’s office and police have started investigations into some of the incidents.
“I urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate all incidents involving the violation of journalists’ rights,” Mijatović said. “Impunity for violence against members of the media cannot be tolerated.”
The Representative stressed journalists’ right to cover public events and journalists and to be able to do so in a free and safe manner. She also noted concerns expressed by a group of local media NGOs about the incidents.
In June this year, the Representative called on the authorities to investigate the incidents and coercive actions by police against journalists covering public protests in Yerevan. No results of an investigation have been presented to date.