Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Armenia22 May 2003

Call for press freedom to be respected in Sunday’s legislative elections and referendum

Reporters Without Borders today urged the authorities to make respect for press freedom a priority in the 25 May legislative elections and referendum, as there were many violations of press freedom in the two rounds of the presidential elections in February and March. The organisation also voiced concern about the closure of local TV station Ankyun+3, which appears to have been politically motivated.

"Given the many cases of harassment, intimidation, confiscation and violence against journalists covering the presidential election a few months ago, we have a right to be concerned about the conditions in which the media will be able to work in the coming election," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to the chairman of the central electoral commission, Artak Sahradyan.

"We therefore ask you to do everything possible to ensure that the members of the local commissions respect the electoral code and do not obstruct the work of journalists during the 25 May elections," Ménard said. "We also ask you to intervene so that the TV station Ankyun+3 can resume broadcasting immediately."

On 20 May, the local office of Armenia’s telecommunication centre suspended broadcasting by the local TV station Ankyun+3 in the city of Alarverdi (in the Lori region), claiming that it had failed to respect technical regulations and had not broadcast state programmes.

The station’s editor in chief, Hrachya Papinyan, said this forced closure five days before the election was politically motivated, as the station had not supported Hovhannes Qochinyan, a candidate who is the brother of the head of the regional government. A week ago tax inspectors also began examining the station’s accounts.

There were many cases of obstruction of news coverage during the two rounds of the presidential election on 19 February and 5 March. Representatives of independent media, including journalists with the independent TV station A1+, were subjected to intimidation and physically attacked while trying to cover voting in polling stations. In most cases, members of local electoral commissions were to blame. Reporters Without Borders points out that no accreditation is needed to cover local polling stations and article 30 of the electoral code bans any limitation on the rights of the news media.

  In this country
30 April - Armenia
Online journalist beaten by unknown assailants
28 November - Armenia
An alleged assailant of journalist Edik Baghdasaryan gives himself up to police
18 August - Armenia
Two Polish journalists denied entry to Armenia in past six days
5 March - Armenia
With news media paralysed and websites inaccessible, government is urged to lift state of emergency
21 February - Armenia
Journalists physically attacked during election campaign

in the annual report
Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives