Reporters Without Borders called today for the punishment of
those responsible for attacking or obstructing three journalists as
they were covering the presidential election campaign in Erevan on 19
February. “The authorities must take these incidents seriously,” it
said. “The journalists were simply doing their job.”
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
said the election victory of former prime minister Serge Sarkassian was
up to international standards but improvement was needed.
journalist Lusine Barsegian, of the opposition paper Aikakan Jamanak,
took photos of ballot-box stuffing and non-secret voting at a polling
station, she was beaten by two men who seized her camera and dictaphone
after she refused to leave. Witnesses, including a police official,
failed to intervene and she was hospitalised. A legal inquiry has been
Samvel Avagyan, who works for the daily paper Haik, had
his dictaphone snatched from him when he tried to question people in a
bus taking them to polling stations after being given ballot papers by
police near a market.
Cameraman Ovsep Ovsepian, of the TV
station A1+, was attacked as he got out of his car by thugs who seized
his recordings and tried to smash his camera. He was insulted by one of
the attackers who spotted a leaflet of opposition candidate Levon
Ter-Petrossian in the car.