On September 27, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan launched a large-scale offensive against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), targeting also peaceful civilians, civilian infrastructures, as well as reporters providing coverage of the events. Local reporters, as well as reporters from Armenia and international reporters are under target.
On October 2, Azerbaijan targeted the reporters of Banak.info of Armenia three times. Fortunately, there are no injuries. Before this, a microbus transporting Russian and Armenian reporters and American volunteers was under artillery fire in Artsakh.
On October 3, a group of international media outlets was not able to enter Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia due to the dangerous situation on the road.
“We left Yerevan yesterday, but we saw that the road was under artillery fire, the bomb had hit the bridge. We had to spend the night in Goris,” an on-site reporter for RIA Novosti reported. Among other reporters were representatives of the BBC, SkyNews and other media outlets.
Confirming the news, the representative of the Information Center of Artsakh reported that “they (Azerbaijan-ed.) have already started firing at large buses, the “Press” logo can no longer save them. This is why it is very dangerous. It is still unclear whether it will be possible to organize their transfer or not.”
According to the statement of the Department of Information and Public Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh, “Azerbaijan has formed special groups, the task of which is to follow the movement of reporters, as well as target reporters providing coverage of the hostilities and harm them as much as possible. The adversary determines which groups of reporters shall be targeted and harmed based on the videos and live broadcasts providing coverage of the hostilities. Simultaneously, we deem it necessary to mention that on-site reporters wear clothes with the “PRESS” logo on them, and the logo is attached to the vehicles transporting them. Moreover, the reporters were targeted when they were carrying out their professional activities in civilian settlements and villages, not at the hot spots of the hostilities.
What is noteworthy is the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan according to which representatives of international media outlets had to receive permission from Azerbaijan before coming to Artsakh. This statement is a violation of all international norms of human rights.
t is also important to emphasize that when a reporter enters a site of armed conflict, he or she shall automatically be under protection. From that moment, everyone shall be obliged to guarantee the safe work of the reporter since the latter shall be as equally protected as the civilian. However, the aforementioned facts prove that Azerbaijan has not only failed to observe these norms, but has also grossly violated the rights prescribed for reporters by the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and several other international documents containing norms of humanitarian law.
Taking into consideration the situation that has been created, the physical security of reporters, including foreign citizens and the real and direct threat to life, a decision has been made to temporarily transport them to a new information center located in a safe place,” the statement of the Department of Information and Public Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh reads.
We address our international colleagues, international journalists’ organizations and humanitarian organizations and relevant institutions to provide information and urge to take action and strictly condemn the tactic of targeting and striking groups of local and international mass media outlets carrying out their professional activities in Artsakh, be it on the military front or in civilian settlements.
UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF ARMENIA
P.S.: The Union of Journalists of Armenia is constantly in touch with its international partners and diplomatic and other institutions operating in the Republic of Armenia and regularly notifies about the unfolding events and the harassment of mass media representatives through interim reports.