OSCE Representative urges authorities in Armenia to ensure journalists’ rights to report in a free and safe manner
VIENNA, 9 December 2015 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today expressed concern over recent cases of obstruction and threats against journalists covering the 6 December referendum on constitutional reforms in Armenia.
According to reports, there were a number of cases of journalists being hindered in carrying out their duties on the day of the referendum.
In particular, the Representative noted the cases involving the following journalists:
- Rafael Afrikyan of iLur.am news website was attacked at a polling station in Yerevan, his camera and press card were damaged;
- Anush Mkrtchyan of Radio Liberty was obstructed and verbally assaulted at the headquarters of referendum supporters in Yerevan;
- Diana Ghazaryan of the online newspaper Hetq.am was verbally assaulted at a polling station in Yerevan, her journalist’s notebook was briefly seized.
Reportedly, the prosecutor’s office and police have started investigations into some of the incidents.
“I urge the authorities to thoroughly investigate all incidents involving the violation of journalists’ rights,” Mijatović said. “Impunity for violence against members of the media cannot be tolerated.”
The Representative stressed journalists’ right to cover public events and to be able to do so in a free and safe manner. She also noted concerns expressed by a group of local media NGOs about the incidents.
In June this year, the Representative called on the authorities to investigate the incidents and coercive actions by police against journalists covering public protests in Yerevan (see www.osce.org/fom/166106). No results of an investigation have been presented to date.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.