17 cases of violence against journalists and interference in their work have been registered during the days of the My Step movement. This is reported by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia. Criminal cases have already been instituted for 13 journalists across 11 cases.
The two cases described in the prosecutor’s report are about Sut.am’s journalist Tirayr Muradyan.
Tirayr tells us that the first case was initiated against two persons wearing civilian clothing in front of the 3rd government building for having subjected him to violence. “I was recognized as a victim and interrogated. There are no suspects, they still haven’t found the people who committed the acts of violence, moreover their identities are still not known to the body conducting the proceedings,” says Tirayr.
The second incident was registered on the Yerevan-Abovyan highway, when the journalist was violently seized and taken by a civilian car to the Abovyan Police Department yard, then returned. A criminal case has been initiated. The journalist was interrogated as a victim.
“Taking into consideration that the cases of violence against other journalists and I took place before Serzh Sargsyan’s day of resignation, April 23, then I think that solving the crimes would be easier, their shouldn’t use political restraint. Nevertheless, at this stage, I can’t confidently say that all the cases will be solved,” says Tirayr Muradyan.
While covering the protests, CivilNet.am’s journalist Ani Grigoryan was hindered during her professional work and her phone was also stolen. A criminal case has also been initiated based on this fact.
Ani Grigoryan informs Media.am that the stolen phone had been returned, having been left in front of the door of her house.
Taking into consideration the numerous attacks on journalists and years of undisclosed cases, the expectations of journalists regarding the filed cases are not high.
“Well, now the Investigative Committee, the prosecutor’s office and the police have the opportunity to prove whether the situation has changed or not. Many criminal cases have lots of materials, thanks to which the cases can be resolved in the shortest amount of time, however, as I said, most of the cases remain unsolved,” said Ani Grigoryan.
And based on the materials of the media, and the information published by the prosecutor’s office, it turns out that police officers are also among those who attacked journalists.
In all cases, journalists have been visibly wearing their professional badges/certificates, and it was obvious that they were doing their job. In the described cases, while covering the mass protests, their certificates not only did not help protect them from attacks, rather the contrary, turned them into a target for attacks.