Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Levon Barseghyan, Chairman of "Asbarez" Journalists' Club of Gyumri and Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman of Armenian Helsinki Committee, participated in the discussion.
“It is time to put an end to the atrocities that areconducted against journalists and representatives of media. After the events of June 23, 2015, we said that this was unprecedented, but what happened in July of this year makes us repeat the word unprecedented again as both the number of attacks increased, and this time the special measures were imposed on journalists. Formal approaches, covering up the trend, finding a scapegoat…this is the script, there is really a need to put an end to this climate of impunity, to take effective actions instead of just apologizing and urging them to forget those events,” Ashot Melikyan said.
Levon Barseghyan believes that public demonstrations, shakes for various reasons are opportunities to identify the real nature of the regime.
“Before the constitutional referendum, I thought Armenia is a semi-authoritarian country but an authoritative radical shift took place in the falsification of the results of the constitutional referendum, which fell between these two events - Baghramyan street protests and armed rebellion of Sasna Dzrer. The dynamics of the last 2-3 years in terms of the suppression of civil liberties and political rights shows that authoritarianism significantly deepened in Armenia. The new stage of this expansion started on September 3, 2013 when Serj Sargsyan was made to take Armenia to the Eurasian geto, and the growth of the number of political prisoners, massive restrictions on freedoms of citizens, violence in this context are very natural,” Barseghyan said.
He emphasizes that the unprecedentance is in this term, as the mass attacks in such a volume had not been in the past. According to him, a proper investigation, detection, and punishment are required by journalists cases, which will lead to the prevention of such cases.
Avetik Ishkhanyan said that Armenia, being a member of international organizations, ratified various conventions and committed obligations only formally.
“Those people who signed those documents make up today's government and they had not even read what they signed. The governments of civilized countries came to the psychology that they should not cover up what was done, but just not to do it. We tend to cover up what was done instead of not doing. And from this perspective who opposes this view? The journalists. If they had changed the psychology, people who conducted violence against journalists would have been punished. As long as the mentality has not changed, we will constantly have this massive and unprecedented violence and crimes not only against journalists,” Ishkhanyan said.
Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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