The journalists of the Fifth Channel have issued a statement in connection with the arrest of the owner of the TV company Armen Tavadyan, insisting the criminal prosecution against Tavadyan resembles an act of political vendetta against the businessman for his personal relationships.
The statement issued on Friday says that the arrest of their owner is a ‘disgraceful example if phycological and financial pressure exerted on the Fifth Channel” which is in line with the ongoing campaign against the free media launched by the authorities.
To remind, the SIS arrested owner of the Fifth Channel Armen Tavadyan on Tuesday on suspicion of seeking false testimony in favour of Armenia’s jailed former President Robert Kocharyan.
The statement next details the difficulties the reporters have faced since the establishment of the Channel which are mostly the consequence of the state policy of propaganda and hate speech aimed at restricting the operation of the TV Channel.
“Getting information of public significance from state bodies is almost impossible for our journalists, attempts to get comments from the members of the cabinet, the ruling political force are bound to fail. They usually reject our invitations to participate in the TV programmes and debates, show improper behavior toward the representatives of the Channel at the scenes. In private conversation they even used to threaten that respective bodies would deal with us,” the statement said in part, adding: “The illegal arrest of the owner of the Channel Armen Tavadyan, the explicit and implicit steps of the authorities to incline the public opinion against the Fifth Channel is nothing than obstruction to the operation of the media outlet and infringement on the freedom of speech.”
The journalists next call on political forces, local and international rights and journalists’ organisations, diplomatic missions accredited to Armenia to come up with support of the reporters’ rights in Armenia and stand in protection for the free media and the freedom of speech.