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Monday, 17 November 2008

Investigative journalist Edik Baghdasaryan attacked in Yerevan

Couple of hours ago (around 8pm local time), Edik Baghdasaryan, editor of Investigative Journalists' Hetq Online, was attacked upon leaving his work office by 3 strangers in downtown Yerevan. Edik did not rule out that this attack could be connected with his professional activities, although he noted that he has not received any threats, as of lately. For journalists to investigate corruption and other darker sides of life is becoming increasingly dangerous in Armenia. They get assaulted again, and again, as normally no one gets punished for similar attacks.

New (old) kind of 'freedom' is establishing itself in Armenia - freedom from punishment for assaulting journalists. Impunity rules!



*news via A1+ and Hetq Online; video - via A1+

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Edik's attackers and the people who are their paymasters live in the shadows and think they can continue to rule a country of uninformed sheep who have been taught to bow their heads and take what is meted out to them. But the tide is turning and, like rats in a corner, their only means out of their predicament is to strike out. Their days are numbered and they WILL be punished!!!! Razmik

parisan said...

Shame to the three cowards who attacked the journalist!

Ani said...

Here's a link to the statement from the Armenian press organizations:

http://www.a1plus.am/en/?page=issue&id=66349

I think it's also important to emphasize the award-winning investigative journalism that Edik has been doing: here's a link to his article in Hetq published yesterday:

http://www.hetq.am/eng/economy/8565/

Here's a link about the international recognition his journalism has received:

http://www.armenianow.com/?
action=viewArticle&IID=1204&CID=
3181&AID=3306&lng=eng

artmika said...

I wish I share optimism of prime minister Tigran Sargsyan:

"Later in the day, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian visited Baghdasarian at the hospital.

He expressed his concern over the attack against a journalist.

“The investigation is on and we are convinced that those responsible will be found within a short period of time,” Tigran Sarkisian told reporters."

Also, as RFE/RL reports, "In a statement the Armenian National Congress led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, in particular, said: “This outrageous attack is more proof that the criminal regime has declared war on free speech.”

President Serzh Sarkisian’s spokesman also described the violence against the journalist as “unacceptable” and “condemnable”.

“The president of the republic has given strict instructions to law-enforcement bodies to reveal the circumstances of the case and find those responsible for the attack,” Samvel Farmanian said in a statement."
***

In the meantime, Reporters Without Borders calls for a “prompt and exhaustive” investigation into yesterday’s assault in Yerevan on Edik Baghdasaryan, the head of the Armenian Association of Investigative Journalists and editor of Hetq, an online newspaper published by the association.

“Such a violent assault on an independent journalist who covers corruption and crime has been targeted is particularly disturbing,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As prompt and exhaustive an investigation as possible must be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to identify his assailants.”

Baghdasaryan was assaulted by three unidentified men as he was about to get into his car at about 8 p.m. yesterday in Yerevan. They beat him repeatedly and one of them hit on the head with a stone before they all made off. He was admitted to St. Grigor Lusarovich hospital for treatment.

In an interview for local TV station A1+, Baghdasaryan said his assailants seemed to have been waiting for him and began their attack without saying a word. A camera belonging to Hetq, the online newspaper he edits, was stolen during the attack. After his assailants had left, he requested help from a neighbouring apartment building.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said he was “worried” by the attack on Baghdasaryan after visiting him in hospital today. Sona Truzyan, the spokesperson for the prosecutor-general’s office, said the incident was being investigated as an “assault” under article 113 of the criminal code.

artmika said...

STATEMENT by NGOs

In the evening of November 17, 2008 in Yerevan Edik Baghdasarian, the Chairman of “Investigative Journalists” NGO, the Chief Editor of “Hetq” online publication, was assaulted and beaten. The journalist had a brain concussion, and several seams were put on his head at “Surb Grigor Lusavorich” medical center.

Edik Baghdasarian had received threats before, and this allows believing that this attack is directly linked to his professional activities.

For many times already scores are settled with journalists in this mean manner. And every time the authorities assure that they will do everything in their power to identify the perpetrators. Yet the crimes remain undisclosed, with their organizers and implementers unpunished. This lack of punishment unties the hands of those who seek to repress the freedom of expression.

We condemn the violence committed against Edik Baghdasarian, and we call on the authorities to refrain from repeated waste of promises, to really disclose the crime and punish those guilty.

Yerevan Press Club

Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression

Internews Media Support NGO

Journalists Union of Armenia

“TEAM” Research Center

Media Diversity Institute-Armenia

“Asparez” Journalist’s Club

Armenian Representative of “Scoop” Danish Network Promoting Investigative Reporting

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

“Transparency International” Anti-Corruption Center

“For Sustainable Human Development” Association

November 18, 2008

artmika said...

Miklos Haraszti : “Violence against journalists is not “crime as usual”, because it undermines a basic institution of democracy - the free press”

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, expressed his concern today over a violent attack this week against an independent journalist in Armenia.Edik Bagdasaryan, the President of Investigative Journalists NGO and Chief Editor of Hetq Online, known for his investigative reporting on Armenian politics and business, was attacked on 17 November in Yerevan by three assailants. He sustained serious head injuries.

“Violence against journalists is not ‘crime as usual’, because it undermines a basic institution of democracy - the free press,” Haraszti wrote to Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

Haraszti also referred in the letter to earlier cases of violence against journalists in Armenia, including Lusine Barseghyan from the opposition newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak, and Hrach Melkumyan, the acting Chief of the Yerevan bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Their cases are still unsolved.

“The aim of such crimes is to intimidate media workers in the country and obstruct investigative reporting. The lack of progress in resolving these cases could provoke further cases of violence against journalists,” said Haraszti.

The OSCE media freedom representative urged the Armenian authorities to thoroughly and swiftly investigate all attacks against journalists, and to bring those responsible to justice.

*Hetq Online

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

Yes tkem amenia eresnerin. Srika martaspanner--merrek!