Last evening, during a demonstration that was being held against Azerbaijani delegates of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in front of Armenia Marriott Hotel in Yerevan, police apprehended 25 young people, including journalist for Yerkir Media Ani Nahapetyan.
At the moment of her apprehension, Nahapetyan was performing her professional duty, her press badge was in an externally visible section, and even though she had informed police officers that she was a journalist, the police officers, by grossly violating the law, pushing and shoving her and offending her, took her to the police station and launched a criminal case under the elements of hooliganism.
According to the journalist, at the police station, she reiterated the fact that she was a journalist, but this did not change the situation in any way, and Ani Nahapetyan spent over five hours at the police station.
The Union of Journalists of Armenia strictly condemns any act aimed at obstructing the professional activities of journalists.
A journalist is free to provide coverage of any event (including and especially a demonstration, a protest or other event in any other format for expressing public discontent) anywhere, with his or her preferred toolkit and with preferred trajectory of movement.
Nobody has the right to apprehend a journalist while he or she is carrying out professional activities, if the journalist has not obstructed the work of a police officer. It is clear that the journalist who was alone and was providing coverage of the protest with her mobile phone did not even have any theoretical opportunity to obstruct the work of a dozen red beret police officers.
We call on law-enforcement authorities to show restraint and tolerance and not exceed the powers that are a part of the official duties.
Union of Journalists of Armenia