The International Federation of Journalists condemned today the “brutal assault” of reporters covering an opposition rally in Yerevan, Armenia.
On 5 April, the film crews of the Armenian Public TV station and the private TV companies Kentron, HY (Noyan Tapan) and Shant, and reporters of Aravot and Aykakan Zhamanak newspapers were attacked by unidentified men in civilian clothes during a demonstration of the opposition National Unity party. Video and photo equipment was destroyed and several journalists and cameramen injured, despite the massive presence of policemen who did nothing to intervene in their defence.
"Such a brutal and violent attack on journalists simply carrying out their professional duties is absolutely unacceptable,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It is the express responsibility of the police to protect all civilians under threat, and the reasons behind this clear lack of protection must be answered”.
The attackers injured Anna Israelian, of the daily Aravot, Onik Grigorian, photographer for Armenia's investigative journalists' website, Hetq online, and Tigran Babaian, cameraman for privately-owned Kentron TV.
The attackers damaged their equipment, as well as the camera of Haik Gevorgian, working for the opposition daily Aykakan Zhamanak.
Videotapes with filmed footage of the events were destroyed and, in spite of statements condemning the episode by the spokesman for the Armenian president, no investigation results have yet been conveyed to the public.
The IFJ is calling on the Armenian government to end all harassment and targeting of journalists and to respect the rights of the media to criticize without fear of reprisal.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries