05, March 2018, Yerevan
Journalist and human rights defender organizations issued a joint statement with the media and journalists on the attempt of hindrance the journalists’ professional activities in Yerevan Municipality.
Yerevan Municipality proposed a certain journalists to discuss the recommendations directed towards the hindrance of journalists’ professional activities in the building of Yerevan Municipality. It is obvious, that the cause for this initiative is not the necessity risen from the daily activities, but rather the scandalous incident, which took place on February 19 of 2018 in Yerevan Municipality. On that day, the journalists of “A1+” TV and “Liberty” radio station, while making a recording accompanied with Zaruhi Postanjyan were faced with a gross hindrance.
Arthur Gevorgyan, the head of Public Relations Department of the Yerevan Municipality first of all did not allow the media representatives to continue talking with the opposition politician, then with the help of the Police prohibited to enter the room of the community council member and left the building. After the incident of public discussion, the city authorities expressed their intention to regulate the journalists’ activities in Municipality, but actually, as shown by the proposed document, the authorities try to apply unjustified limitations while covering their activities. The advocates of this approach justify the necessity of new conditions for the relations with the media by the circumstance of Yerevan Municipality’s building to be included in the list of specially protected objects. Meanwhile, the presented recommendations are directed towards the making the city community council non transparent.
The documents presented to the discussion of the journalists is essentially a new order of trust management, which is not in a line with the criteria of Articles 42 and 51 of the RA Constitution and contradicts to a number of provisions of the RA Laws on “Local Self Government”, “Mass Media” and “Freedom of Information”.
Taking into consideration of all the above mentioned, we the undersigned express our readiness to elaborate and present recommendations directed towards the organization of journalists’ work in Yerevan Municipality and City Council and present the latter to the responsible and meanwhile we urge the Yerevan Municipality
– to stop the adoption procedure of the mentioned document,
– not to change the working conditions with the media representatives excluding the demonstrations of discrimination and unconditioned restrictions and with the respect to freedoms of expression and information, as well as the citizens’ rights to exercise control over the authorities.