Today, Christine Poghosyan, the MP of the ruling majority Civil Contract faction in the National Assembly, responded to MediaHub.am website journalist Ani Gevorgyan with an unsound behavior and inappropriate wording, in response to the journalist’s lucid questions, most probably putting the MP in a difficult situation. MP Kristine Poghosyan, declaring that the National Assembly is her place, demanded the journalist to leave, and as the journalist confronted, the MP reached for the phone (most likely), on the table trying to throw it in the journalist’s direction, which was prevented by his fellow MPs.
Even though the MP who had displayed unsound behavior was somehow taken away from the scene by her fellow MPs, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Alen Simonyan, came to her support after a while. He also ordered the security officers of the Parliament to take the journalist, Ani Gevorgyan, out of the National Assembly building, which they conducted right away using violence against the journalist; they took her out of the NA building- dragging her by the arms.
After this incident, in a conversation with journalists, Alen Simonyan not only announced that he is not going to investigate the behavior of the MP Kristine Poghosyan, moreover, he will be guided by the new provisions of the NA rules of procedure, according to which the journalist who disrupts the activities of the NA should be taken away. “It was long overdue. Thanks God, we have already adopted the law,” announced Alen Simonyan.
Apparently the government’s inept attitude, to put it mildly, towards the press is due to the troublesome events happening in the country in recent days, along with the military frontline, the shadowy processes taking place in the political sphere and the righteous indignation against them in the society.
The government, as in the past, as well as today, considers the press as an enemy, that informs the public about their drawbacks and shortcomings, as thanks to the work of the mass media, which operates largely free and outside the control of the government, the public learns about the events taking place behind its back.
The Union of Journalists of Armenia strongly condemns today’s harassment against the journalists in the National Assembly, including the instructions of the head of the representative body, the Speaker of the National Assembly and demands from the government to act faithfully to the principles of democracy, to make the incident worthy of a legal evaluation, to hold accountable the MPs who are members of their own team, who, not for the first time, threaten journalists with reprisals. Impunity breeds indulgence; in this case, the mentioned MP not only threatened, but also tried to resort to specific actions.
We call on local and international organizations dealing with issues of press freedom, units and individuals legally dealing with the protection of human rights, to display adequate attempts, to restrain and prevent the encroachments of the government on free speech.
We call on our colleagues, regardless of the situation, to observe all the norms of professional ethics and support each other.