“Violence Cases against Journalists during the Clashes at Sari Tagh: Assessments a Year Later”
Media Center, July 24, Yerevan. As the human rights defenderes state, the demonstrations and use of force activities that were held after the storming of the Yerevan police station by Sasna Dzrer a year before, large-scale violence were accompanied by a large-scale violence against journalists and cameramen by the police and hindering of the professional activity.

The annual report of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression in 2016 notes that they were unprecedented in terms of applying special measures against media representatives.

According to the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, during the July events, 27 journalists and cameramen suffered from police operations, 19 of whom were subjected to physical violence getting body injuries, and 8 people were subjected to different types of pressures and harassment.

During the discussion entitled “Violence Cases against Journalists during the Clashes at Sari Tagh: Assessments a Year Later” held at Media Center on June 24,Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of  the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, says that 9 civilians were charged, 7 of them stood trial and were fined.

According to Ashot Melikyan, this is not equivalent to the scope of violence and pressure. He thinks that such an attitude can be a green light in the face of violence against journalists in the future.

“In fact, it turns out that a man can beat a journalist with 200,000 drams,” Ashot Melikayn concludes.

Marut Vanyan, Cameraman at Lragir.am, who was one of the injured journalists, was subjected to physical violence. He says that there is no significant shift within the criminal case against him, even there is no accused a year later.

“They took my suitcase, which included two cameras and then they brutally beat me. I had bruises on different parts of my body, but mostly I have a right leg trauma and a year later, I feel that pain. No compensation has been made, no one has been disclosed. I do not have any expectations that something will be done because a year is not little time to do anything.”

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Head of “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO, mentions that the consistency of the media in detecting cases and punishing those guilty is rather passive. At the same time, the human rights defender agreed with the opinion of the other speakers that the law enforcement system is trying to obliterate the cases of violence against the journalists.

“It is total inactivity, the investigation has no progress in that way, there is no investigation at all. There is an imitation of a few scape goat civilians in order to show at least the statistics that we have two verdicts that have been subjected to liability,” Harutyunyan said. 

Arevhat Grigoryan, Expert at Yerevan Press Club, says that journalists and media organizations often avoid involvement in seemingly enduring judicial processes and crackdowns, as they do not believe in justice.

“They will spend their time and nerves and gain nothing. This is not an absolute assessment; there are journalists who go to the end,” Arevhat Grigoryan said.

To watch the video, follow the link.  

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