Although MP Rubik Hakobyan does not clearly state it, from his words it is possible to understand, that yes, he has hit “Hraparak” journalist Vahe Makaryan and yes, he was pleased with his actions.
The MP states his behavior “was based on the defiant behavior of Vahe Makaryan.”
“There was no journalist on the other side of this incident, it was a hooligan, and I’ve tried to prevent his future activities,” announced Hakobyan in Parliament.
The MP, who is a graduate from St. Petersburg State University’s Faculty of Journalism, carried out a counterattack.
When I was writing this article, he was discussing on “Azatutyan” live television who a journalist is and who can practice journalism. He was saying that a citizen can refuse to answer a journalist’s question. In reality the MP can also refuse an interview, clearly aware, that he is not an ordinary citizen. But in the hall of the Parliament, Hakobyan answered the journalists’ questions with his own free will.
To give an interview or not give an interview, to be a journalist or not be a journalist, it is important to remember that:
- The MP is not an ordinary citizen and must be prepared for the fact that journalists will ask him questions, even if they are undesirable, unpleasant and difficult questions, which, possibly, will get on the nerves of the MP. The public figure must continue to remain civilized and answer the questions or refuse to answer them in a civilized manner.
- When a politician changes political teams throughout his career, questions about his history are natural. They may be annoying, but they are appropriate. It is not an official that decides, but rather a journalist and his/her editorial staff.
- Naturally, it is possible to ask the MP giving the debriefing in the hall of the Parliament (and Hakobyan was giving an impromptu briefing) any question, and it is possible to ask the same question several times. If the MP wishes to filter the questions addressed to him, he can can select a format he has more control over instead of answering the journalists’ questions. If he has agreed to answer unmediated questions, he should remain calm.
- The MP does not decide who is the journalist, who is the hooligan hidden behind the microphone. The journalist’s employer provides a job, preferably, the editor’s choice. And the editorial staff decides on who to deploy to Parliament. The MP cannot intervene with this matter. Vahe Makaryan is an accredited journalist for the National Assembly of Armenia and Rubik Hakobyan has no business here.
- The editorial staff determines the journalist’s ethical boundaries. The editorial staff is responsible for their journalist’s behavior. The training and discipline of a journalist does not fall within the powers of an MP.
Today Rubik Hakobyan is busy spreading his satisfaction with his behavior throughout the media field. This is the most dangerous development of the incident. Since the behavior of the MP can set an example for his colleagues. And it can seem that officials themselves decide who is a journalist and who is not, and decide, seemingly under the influence, to pull an ear? Attack? Or, just curse?
When talking about the cases of violence against journalists in Armenia, one word can be used: “impunity.” Of course, Hakobyan is pleased with himself, since before him no MP who cursed and threatened journalists working in Parliament, and no one who attacked journalists covering the Electric Yerevan or Sari Tagh demonstrations, have ever been punished.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.