Politics 17:04 30/08/2021 Armenia

Panorama.am Editor-in-Chief's response to discussion about journalists' rights at the National Assembly

Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Human Rights Protection of Public Affairs Taguhi Tovmasyan has initiated a discussion on the freedom of movement of accredited journalists inside the parliament building. Below is the letter of Panorama.am Editor-in-Chief Anahit Voskanyan addressed to Taguhi Tovmasyan. 

"Panorama.am received the first blow of unlawful restriction put on journalists' free movement inside the parliament building, it struggled, initiated judicial processes. The struggle was supported by opposition lawmakers of the National Assembly. The ban on Panorama.am photographer's entry to parliament was eventually removed, and new restrictions were swiftly adopted." 

The broadcasts of the National Assembly sessions show how security officers in field uniforms, even reluctantly, push reporters out of their working space which is already separated by thick glass from the session hall.  This means the issue is not about secure working environment, otherwise it would have equally applied to reporters. The matter is about restrictions on freedom of speech. This proves the ruling majority of the National Assembly deliberately confuses the coverage of the National Assembly sittings with  street fights of hooligans. The National Assembly with its new regulation and rules on the free movement of journalists chooses for itself to be either a transparent body as elected by people and accountable to them, or become a 'closed institution'. If the cabinet members come to parliament accompanied by huge number of security officers, avoiding or being afraid of certain risks, journalists cannot measure their fear or ensure their safety which is not their duty.  If the majority of the parliament as a legislative body, wants to instruct the Fourth Estate, that is another defeat of democracy which should be recorded. 

If the National Assembly wants to show its weight by pressuring reporters, it is nothing else than ignorance. If the National Assembly wants to be perceived as wise, every time announcing breaks during the brawls and removing reporters from their working space would be at least pointless, since dozens of mobile phones capture and spread those disgraceful 'breaks.'

At this stage, the National Assembly should decide for itself whether it is a legislative body entitled with its laws and work to protect every citizen of the Republic of Armenia, or a group of people who only present their CVs and tastes from the podium. As an Editor-in Chief of a media outlet I can not and do not want to discuss the honour of my professional right in front of them, as regretfully, the most honest, the most lawful and the most legal issue will be ultimately suited to the wish of the majority."



Source Panorama.am
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