Law 13:57 18/06/2024 Armenia

IPI: Anyone responsible for violence against journalists in Yerevan must be held accountable

The International Press Institute (IPI) global network on Monday released a statement condemning the police violence against journalists covering the June 12 protests outside the Armenian parliament and urging Armenia's authorities to thoroughly investigate the incidents. The full statement is provided below.

"The IPI global network expresses grave concern after more than 10 Armenian journalists were injured by police forces while covering the June 12 protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. We urgently call for a thorough investigation into these incidents and urge the authorities in Armenia to ensure a safe working environment for all media professionals.

On June 12, 2024, clashes erupted in front of Yerevan’s Parliament between police and protesters opposing the border demarcation deal with Azerbaijan and demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation. Pashinyan was set to address Parliament at the time. According to reports, security forces used stun grenades after protesters attempted to storm the Parliament building and breach police barricades, throwing rocks and bottles at the police. At least 10 journalists and camera operators were injured during the clashes and dispersal.

Among those injured were two crews of the ABC.am. According to ABC journalist Nane Hayrapetyan, media workers from both crews sustained injuries. Nane Hayrapetyan and cameraman Arman Gharibyan were hurt during the clashes, while journalist Aghvan Asoyan and camera operator Edik Malakyan were injured when stun grenades were deployed. Vazgen Yetumian, a camera operator with the News.am online news service, had his leg broken, and two other camera operators, Narek Hayrian of Civilnet and Hovsep Hovsepian of Armlur.am, and Mediahub.am journalist Nare Gevorgyan also sustained injuries.

Nine Armenia-based press freedom organizations, including Yerevan Press Club and the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) issued a joint statement condemning the actions of law enforcement agencies, describing them as “use of excessive force,” and demanding accountability for those who targeted accredited journalists indiscriminately or damaged equipment.

“Authorities must promptly conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the events of June 12. Regardless of the nature of the protests, any use of excessive force or violence against journalists who are doing their jobs is unacceptable. Anyone responsible for using excessive force must be held accountable,” IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said.

Armenia’s road to democracy has been bumpy, yet in recent years the press freedom situation in the country has significantly improved. Reforms to media regulations and the decriminalization of grave insults represent some of the positive steps. However, the media scene remains highly polarized, and access to information is often restricted."



Source Panorama.am
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