The Union of Journalists of Armenia strongly condemns Khachatur Sukiasyan’s outrageous behaviour and appeals to international institutions

11:53 17-04-2024

Yesterday, during the briefing held in the parliament, Khachatur Sukiasyan, member of the ruling Civil Contract party of the National Assembly, made a number of insulting expressions to the journalist of the Aravot daily Hripsime Jebejyan, targeting the woman, her parents, relatives and the editor-in-chief of the media she represented. Sukiasyan responded with street vocabulary, in an obviously aggressive and threatening tone to the questions that Jebejian, as a journalist conveying public sentiments, addressed to the deputy.

This happened in the parliament of the country that has declared itself a “bastion of democracy”, whose government representatives constantly talk about human rights, pass laws to protect women’s rights and prevent violence against them. In the same parliament, however, the ruling deputy uses verbal violence against a female journalist, calling her family names, and no former civil activist deputy engaged in the “protection of women’s rights” reacts to it in any way.

There is no word of condemnation from dozens of “human rights” organizations, representatives of “civil society” who organized various protest actions until 2018 regarding any incident incomparable to what happened yesterday.

The editor-in-chief of Aravot once revealed who assisted in the establishment of the newspaper over the years. However, Khachatur Sukiasyan, who financed the newspaper on Vano Siradeghyan’s  instructions, and then stopped it, is now distorting what happened after him, adapting it to Nikol Pashinyan’s earlier hints and political expediency.

Khachatur Sukiasyan’s brazen behaviour against the journalist of Aravot daily is another proof that Armenia is steadily moving towards authoritarianism, under which the government does not tolerate any opinion that differs from its point of view.

Sukiasyan was probably inspired by the fact that his impermissible behaviour was preceded by the torture of citizen Samvel Vardanyan with the permission of the police, which either did not receive any reaction from those who declared themselves “rights defenders”, or was even acquitted.

It is appropriate to note that Sukiasyan’s brash behaviour followed the post made by his superior, NA Speaker Alen Simonyan on the Telegram channel, about the incident between citizen Samvel Vardanyan and CC MP Hakob Aslanyan.

The repressions that have become widespread in Armenia in recent years and have recently become more severe indicate the degeneration of political power. All of them are happening with at least the tacit approval, possibly with the encouragement, of the highest authority, Nikol Pashinyan. And the deep reason for the aggressiveness of the authorities towards the journalists is that the press, with all its problems, remains the only viable counterbalancing system to the government.

The Union of Journalists of Armenia strongly condemns Khachatur Sukiasyan, deputy of the CC faction of the NA, towards the reporter of Aravot daily Hripsime Jebejian, which is unbecoming of a deputy, and demands the relevant authorities to investigate the incident with appropriate consequences, calls on the embassies operating in Armenia, international organizations dealing with the protection of human rights and freedom of speech to adequately respond to what happened and for the sake of conjunctural goals, not to turn a blind eye to the violence carried out by the authorities against the press, freedom of speech, and free expression of opinion in Armenia.

Union of Journalists of Armenia