A1+: Statement By Onnik Krikorian

A1 Plus | 14:51:39 | 06-04-2004 | Social |


At the rally on April 5 Armenian from Diaspora Onnik Krikorian, press
photographer of “Hetq” Internet site of Investigating Journalists’
Association, was beaten while performing his professional duties.

He has appeared today with a statement. Here we represent it.

“In the aftermath of yesterday’s attack on journalists and photographers
covering the rally organized by the National Unity Party of Artashes
Geghamian, I am obliged to issue a statement regarding the events that
resulted in a number of media representatives being attacked by men
identified as working for the authorities.

In particular, I am concerned by coverage of the event on state-sponsored
Public TV. In their reports, Public Television — which is broadcast via
satellite to the Diaspora — lay the blame on the opposition for the attacks
despite all eye witness accounts identifying the men as having the
protection of the state.

As a British citizen who was hit in the face by one of the thugs and who
approached two policemen who witnessed events but refused to intervene, I
can state quite categorically in the instances that I witnessed at least,
that nobody in the crowd responded to the provocation. Moreover, it was
plainly clear that the group of men were there with the full knowledge and
protection of the Armenian police.

In light of Public TV’s attempts to propagandize yesterday’s events as
evidence of violence by those attending an otherwise peaceful rally, the
authorities must respect the role of journalists in this period of
confrontation. I urge Public TV to report the facts and not to disseminate
propaganda that they know to be untrue in order to fulfil the orders of the
state and to escalate an already tense situation.

In particular, it should be noted that Public TV did not report the presence
of half a dozen men believed to be hired muscle despite the large number of
people, including foreign citizens, that saw them attack journalists and
citizens alike without any provocation.

Journalists are not parties to this conflict between the opposition and the
government. Journalists are responsible for covering the events and I call
upon both sides and especially the police to respect that role”.