While covering the parliamentary elections, RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun) reporter Sisak Gabrielyan and Araratnews.am journalist Shoghik Galstyan were attacked in Yerevan’s Kond district.
The journalists noticed that residents of Kond’s 15 Rustaveli St., prior to going to the polling station, gathered outside MP candidate, HHK (Republican Party of Armenia) representative Hakob Beglaryan’s election campaign headquarters, and they thought that it’s possible electoral bribes were being distributed inside.
Galstyan decided to enter the headquarters.
“When the people gathered there saw the video-recording devices, they immediately displayed aggressive behavior, began to shout, don’t film, then they attacked, pulled my hair, took the video-recording device, didn’t let me enter the building. Meanwhile, my colleague had managed to get inside and caught the act of money being distributed,” Galstyan tells Media.am.
The journalist called the police and quickly left the scene. Galstyan says, in her opinion, the residents gathered outside the headquarters recognized each other and wanted to interfere with the journalist’s work.
“They didn’t let us go inside because bribes were clearly being distributed. We had already left the scene; therefore, the police officers came to the newsroom, and we described what happened. I don’t want to be pessimistic regarding police actions, since it’s clear from the video that there was violence,” says the journalist.
While Galstyan was working outside, Gabrielyan succeeded in entering the building. On Azatutyun’s airwaves she explained what happened, noting that inside the building she saw two pieces of paper where the first and last name, patronymic, passport number, and residential address of 30 or 40 people were written.
“They attacked, damaged my eye, hurled profanities, which we don’t broadcast on air. When we were leaving, people were still going to that area. Inside, they said we’re distributing wages. The girl in the video said they’re going to distribute wages to more people than those on the list,” says Gabrielyan.
But the work of journalists in Kond didn’t end there.
At polling station 9/28 (Kond’s school), there was an attempt to hinder ArmTimes.com journalist Tirayr Muradyan’s professional activities. At the polling station, Muradyan saw one of the women who attacked the journalists outside Hakob Beglaryan’s election campaign headquarters, and he approached her for comments on the incident. The women became angry, turned around, and moved off-camera. Before doing so, she made insulting remarks, attacked the video camera and tried to pull it way.
Muradyan asked the police officers on duty to find out the woman’s identity, but they advised him to submit a report about the incident to the police.
Media.am continues to monitor and collect incidents of violence against journalists on April 2. This page will be updated as more incidents become known. If you’re aware of incidents not included in this story, please let us know by leaving a comment below.