More than 60 residents of the Hovtashen village of Ararat province attacked Kentron TV journalist Arthur Hakobyan and cameraman Simik Mayilyan on December 24, hitting them, snatching their microphones and cameras.
The journalist and cameraman had arrived at the scene to report on the theft of fish belonging to Sedrak Arustamyan, the CEO of Multi Group Concern.
“The villagers had a bad attitude towards our television film crew. In the afternoon, when other media started working at the scene, there was no such treatment,” said Varduhi Meltonyan, director of the Epicenter news service.
According to her, the camera was taken to erase the already filmed footage, where curses, abusive words are heard and scenes of violence are visible. Reporters have been able to save and broadcast some segments.
Police are preparing materials on the case, and the participants of the incident are being questioned. A criminal case has been instituted in connection with the incident under Part 1 of Article 164 of the Criminal Code, obstructing the journalist’s legal professional activity or forcing them to disseminate or going against their refusal to disseminate information.
Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan issued a statement condemning the worrying incident as “disturbing.” “It is inadmissible to interfere with or hinder a journalist’s professional activity, regardless of one’s sympathy or aversion.”
Journalistic organizations are also concerned about this impediment to journalistic activity.
“We urge law enforcement agencies to take action to identify and hold all perpetrators accountable,” the statement said.