It was absolutely inadmissible today for the employees of the Security Service of the National Assembly to take photos from the lobby of the NA sitting hall, to stop the professional work of the media representatives carrying out video recordings, and to force them to leave the booth.
The RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan informs about this. His statement, in particular, reads ․ “These reprehensible phenomena are already becoming continuous, the actions of the security guards have no justification. And it should be remembered that the lodges of the National Assembly were originally built for journalists. The ombudsman’s staff also discussed today’s incidents with specific journalists working professionally in the National Assembly. They informed that they were taken out of their place, the lodge, when they noticed that the situation in the NA session hall was tense or some turmoil was developing.
For example, Civilnet․am journalist G Թorg Tosunyan noted that the employees of the National Assembly Security Service started removing themselves from the two booths when they already noticed that the situation in the NA session hall was escalating. The security officers pushed the journalists out with a rough push, and when they noticed that he was filming the process, they started dragging him with aggressive behavior, demanding not to film and leave the room. In another case, Factor.am journalist Mary Martirosyan reported that their security guards pulled them out, pushing and pulling, without providing any justifications.
The same was mentioned by “Hraparak.am” journalist Vahe Makaryan. The ombudsman’s staff reviewed both published and unpublished videos. The study shows that the military is rude to journalists. They forbid journalists from staying in a room reserved for journalists, and use physical violence against some journalists to evict them. For example, in one of the videos, a serviceman in a military uniform grabs two women journalists and takes them out of the journalists’ room. In another episode of the video, it is clear how the military enters another room for journalists, immediately begins to ban the filming, without making any specific demands or clarifying the purpose of their action, without allowing journalists to understand the demand, to leave the room on their own. It is not clear how journalists should do their job without filming security guards when they are everywhere.
Therefore, since August 2, the restrictions applied to the work of journalists in the NA building already show that they have nothing to do with the security of the NA building, but simply unjustifiably restrict the work of journalists, create obstacles to journalistic work and negatively affect the reputation of journalism in society. The unhindered professional work of journalists should be more guaranteed in the parliament, which is the main guarantor of democracy in the country. The free work of journalists is a guarantee of citizens’ control over their freedom of speech, including government officials. The Human Rights Defender reaffirms his position that a journalist should not be deprived of the right to receive “first-hand” or “hot” information, including the right to ask questions, conduct interviews or receive comment on the spot. It also refers to the possibility of covering the incidents of August 24-25 in the National Assembly.
The journalist should be able to use the opportunity to publish information at a particular moment, including taking into account that the journalist should not miss the opportunity to publish sensational or exclusive information. This should be taken into account by all the deputies, both in the ruling and opposition factions. Therefore, the position of the Human Rights Defender is clear. “Obstacles to the work of journalists in the National Assembly, and in particular in the lodge, must be stopped immediately.”