ARTICLE 19 is becoming increasingly concerned that acts of violence against journalists in
In recent weeks
ARTICLE 19 specifically calls on the Armenian authorities to condemn any attacks on journalists and to undertake to end all attacks. In order to prevent other attacks, ARTICLE 19 also urges the government to fully investigate all violent incidents, thereby sending a clear message that such abuses will not be tolerated.
The “Flower Holiday” is an annual celebration of the birthday of former President Geydar Aliyev on 10 May. This year students called for it to be cancelled, to commemorate 13 people killed at the
ARTICLE 19 urges the
ARTICLE 19 also calls for a complete disclosure of the findings of the investigation into the killing of 13 people at the
ARTICLE 19 urges the Georgian government to conduct a prompt and independent investigation into the alleged police attacks. We also call on the Georgian authorities not to repeat the excessive use of force used to quell demonstrators in November 2007, including the beating of journalists by police.
ARTICLE 19 notes that
NOTES TO EDITORS:
• For more detailed information on individual cases, please refer to the attached appendix.
• Please contact Nathalie Losekoot, Senior Programme Officer,
Appendix: List of Individual Journalists Attacked in
On 6 May 2009 Nver Mnatsakanian of Shant TV was beaten by unknown assailants, suffering injuries to his head, feet and hands.
On 30 April 2009, Argishti Kiviryan, the founding editor of Armenia Today, was severely beaten with wooden batons across the face and body on his way home from work. He was hospitalised in a serious condition. According to eyewitnesses the attackers also shot at Kiviryan, although he was not hit.
These attacks follow on from previous incidents. In August 2008, Lusine Barsegian from Haikakan Zhamanak and Hrach Melkumyan, Radio Liberty acting director, were attacked and hospitalised in separate events. Edik Baghdasarian, editor of the news magazine Hetq, was also assaulted in November 2008. The editor-in-chief of Iskakan Iravunk newspaper, Hovhannes Galajian, has been severely assaulted twice, in 2006 and again in 2007. Even though Armenian police authorities have vowed to end the spate of recent attacks, no one has so far been found guilty.
On 10 May 2009, Durna Safarli, Radio Liberty correspondent, Elchin Hasanov, an employee of Yukselish Namina, and Afgan Mukhtarli and Layla Ilgar of Yeni Musavat were the victims of police force while covering events surrounding the “Flower Holiday”.
On 26 April, ANS TV correspondents Nijat Suleymanov, Elmin Muradov and Azer Balayev reported that they were subjected to ill-treatment by police when trying to report on the destruction of a building.
Assaults, including the murder of journalists, have continued to take place with impunity in
These include four separate attacks, including the stabbing of Azadlyg reporter, Agil Khalil, who was later subject to a smear campaign on government-controlled television. Sergei Strekalin was sentenced for the attack although Khalil denies he was the person who attacked him. As a result of more attacks, Khalil was forced to flee the country by the end of 2008.
Hakimeldostu Mehidyev, correspondent for the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (situated within
Idrak Abbasov, another journalist for IRFS, was hospitalised with heart problems on 20 February 2009 after returning from Nakhchivan where he stated he was subjected to physical and psychological abuse by the National Security Ministry (NSM).
In June 2008, the journalist Emin Huseynov was detained and assaulted by police, after which he was hospitalised for 24 days, and continues to receive treatment. Court proceedings in the case are ongoing.
Attacks on journalists have become increasingly common. On 7 April, police reportedly ill treated Nino Komakhidze, a journalist, and Ani Khavtasi, a photo-journalist from The Versia newspaper, when they covered an opposition movement protest.
On 6 May, the abovementioned journalists, together with Salome Kokiashvili, a Public Broadcasting correspondent, Zaza Shukvani, a Kavkasia TV Company cameraman, and Levan Kalandia, a