Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: IFJ/EFJ condemn attacks against journalists

UPDATED 1 OCTOBER Three journalists from the Azerbaijan Public Television ITV who were reporting from the Azerbaijani-Armenian frontline have been fired upon by Armenian armed forces on 29 September. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) call on Armenian and Azeri authorities to secure journalists' safety.

An unexploded artillery shell on a road in the Tartar region during clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Credits: TOFIK BABAYEV / AFP

The journalists were reporting on the clashes between Azeri and Armenian armed forces in the Tartar region in Azerbaijan when Armenian armed forces suddenly started firing at their car. The journalists escaped without injuries, but the broadcaster’s car was severely damaged.

Correspondent Shohrat Eyvazov - who reports on the frontline for ITV - told the Azeri union JuHI that his colleagues involved in the incident were clearly identifiable as press corps and were wearing  press uniforms and driving a car marked with ITV logo.

Several dozens of civilians and soldiers have been killed since 27 September when clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces escalated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which has been subject to a decade-long conflict. The region is officially part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government since 1994.

According to the Armenian news agency Armenpress, an Azerbaijani military drone has also made threatening approaches on 28 September against a group of reporters covering the conflict in the town of Martuni in Armenia.

Netblocks NGO reported on Sunday that social media and communications platforms were restricted across Azerbaijan following clashes with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “It is essential to publish accurate reporting about the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. This means that journalists must be able to report without fearing attacks. We call on Azeri and Armenian authorities to ensure the safety and independence of the press corps reporting on the ground."

Updated (01/10/2020): Two reporters with the French newspaper Le Monde and two Armenian journalistswere injured by Azerbaijani artillery in the town of Martuni, part of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, on 1 October, Armenia’s foreign ministry said.

Updated (02/10/2020): The two wounded reporters have been evacuated by the French government.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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