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Committee to Protect Journalists: Journalists faced intolerance and violence in Armenia

17 February 2010 [13:48] - TODAY.AZ
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), independent and nonprofit organization based in New York, says journalists face intolerance and violence in Armenia.
“The nation remained polarized by the fraud-marred 2008 presidential election won by Serzh Sargsyan, with large public protests and violent government reprisals continuing well into 2009. The global economic crisis caused layoffs in the mining industry and a decline in remittances from Russia, heightening public frustrations. The government sought to suppress critical debate over these issues, and journalists faced intolerance, hostility, and violence,” reads “Attacks on the Press 2009: Armenia” report issued by Committee to Protect Journalists.

“The government maintained control over most broadcast media, the primary news source in a poverty-afflicted country with poor newspaper distribution and low Internet penetration. The Council on Public Radio and Television, composed of presidential appointees, continued to set editorial guidelines for H1 state television, ensuring the station generated pro-government reports," the report said.

"Most private radio and television stations were owned by politicians and businessmen with close ties to the government, leading to significant self-censorship by journalists and limited critical news reporting on the airwaves."

"Violent attacks against journalists continued amid a climate of impunity. On March 13, security guards at the State Linguistics University in Yerevan knocked freelance photographer Gagik Shamshian to the ground and kicked him after he tried to photograph students protesting alleged faculty corruption, according to press reports. Shamshian was hospitalized for six days with internal bleeding. A security guard was briefly questioned by police but was not charged," the committee said in a report.


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