Hindering the journalist’s legitimate professional activity is a criminal offence

20:56 27-04-2024

The police officers used brutal force against Ani Gevorgyan, journalist and editor of NewDay.am website, and cameraman Janibek Khachatryan, who covered the protest action of citizens in Tavush region for days against the unilateral concessions and the false process of border demarcation and delimitation initiated by the authorities.

In particular, on the way from Kirants to Ijevan, the masked security forces stopped the car transporting them and as if checking the identity of the journalists, , they put the cameraman J. Khachatryan on the ground, in the true sense of the word, despising A. Gevorgyan’s many warnings about their being representatives of the press.

“We were in Mihran Makhsudyan’s son’s car, one of Tavush residents of, whom we asked to take us to Ijevan. The traffic police stopped the car, after which the masked men of the 6th Police Department, twisting the arms of Makhsudyan’s son and our media operator, laid them down on the asphalt and tried to take him away, after the noise I made, only Janibek Khachatryan was set free,” Ani Gevorgyan told us.

In the posted video, it is visible how they forcefully throw the cameraman to the ground.

Apparently, the authorities are once again using the power structures as a dumb tool to terrorize the public and the citizens who came out to fight, and now they are targeting the journalists, thus trying to limit the process of covering the protest actions in Tavush. Regardless of the fact that these attempts may not succeed. Whatever has happened is a gross manifestation of violation of the freedom of speech and the work of journalists, which could not have been done without the instruction and/or consent of the political authorities.

The Union of Journalists of Armenia strongly condemns this case of impermissible violence by the authorities against the journalists covering the fair actions of the protest of the border settlements. Hindering the journalist’s legitimate professional activities is a criminal offense and anyone who commits such an act should be held accountable.

We demand the human rights defender and all relevant structures to make the incident the subject of an investigation, and we call on the local and international organizations dealing with the situation of democracy in Armenia, human rights and freedom of speech to once again not turn a blind eye to this shameful action against the press, free speech, and the professional work of journalists.