The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) presented its annual report for 2018.
According to Ashot Melikyan, chairman of the CPFE, it was a rather difficult period for the Armenian mass media, ue to the revolution and other subsequent political processes.
Most of the violations of the rights of mass media representatives during the year took place in April, during the hottest period of the revolution.
In April, the CPFE recorded 18 cases of physical violence against journalists and 8 facts of hindrance of a journalists professional activities.
According to Ashot Melikyan, the waves of attacks and pressure on journalists has ceased after the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.
In general, during 2018, the CPFE has recorded 21 cases of physical violence against journalists, 67 different kinds of other forms of pressure against media outlets and their employees, and 98 cases of violations against the right to receive and disseminate information.
Compared to 2017, the number of violations of journalists’ rights, including physical violence and the hindering the right to receive and disseminate information has increased in 2018, pressures on media and their staff has dropped.
Ashot Melikyan says hat in the post-revolutionary period, cases of physical violence and the hindrance of journalists’ professional activities had diminished.
“There has been no violence during the two local elections that took place after the revolution, and that did not mean that violence was not committed during the previous elections should not be held accountable,” he said.
In the post-revolutionary period, however, Melikyan expressed concern over the search and seizure which took place at the Yerevan.today news website office by law enforcement agencies, and during the pre-election period, the illegal actions against News.am and Aysor.am, requiring them to prove “grounds” with video material.
The CPFE has made statements with partner organizations and called on the new authorities to take measures to prevent illegal actions by the police towards media outlets.
2018 was rich in lawsuits filed against media outlets and journalists. 13 new lawsuits were filed on the grounds of insult and defamation as provided for in Article 1087.1 of the RA Civil Code. Among the plaintiffs are the second president of the RA, Robert Kocharyan and Vice Prime Minister, Tigran Avinyan. There are also cases when the one media outlet has sued another.