Reporters Without Borders denounces deliberate police violence against reporters in Armenia

Law enforcement targeted several journalists during the recent protests in Armenia against territorial concessions to Azerbaijan. Some were pushed to the ground, others beaten and one journalist was even hit by a police vehicle. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for an end to deliberate police violence against reporters. The Armenian authorities must conduct transparent and independent investigations into the police attacks against at least five journalists, RSF says.

The attacks against reporters have taken place during protests since 19 April against the government’s plan to hand over territory to Azerbaijan in an agreement that was finalised on 16 May. At least five journalists were targeted.

Mher Davtyan, a video reporter for the opposition media outlet, was pushed to the ground by a policeman while climbing some steps in Yerevan, the capital, on 13 May. Nare Gevorgyan, a reporter with another opposition outlet,, was bumped by a police truck on a pedestrian crossing the same day in Yerevan although she had a press card around her neck and a microphone in her hand.

Ani Nerkararyan, a reporter for the opposition media Oragir News, was pushed by a police officer during a protest in the northern province of Lori on 29 April although she had a press card around her neck. She injured her leg as a result of being pushed, Oragir News said. news site cameraman Janibek Khachatryan was briefly but violently detained by masked police officers while in the car of the son of one of the protest leaders during a protest in the northeastern province of Tavush on 27 April.

Garik Melkonyan, a reporter for the independent daily, was covering a protest in the same province on 23 April when a policeman snatched his phone and threw it to the ground to prevent him filming attempts by the police to move a vehicle.

“With the historic conflict with Azerbaijan as a backdrop, the way the police are handling the protests is increasing the dangers for the reporters covering them. As well as sometimes targeted by the police, journalists are also often attacked in the street and by politicians who are supposed to guarantee press freedom. We call on the Armenian authorities to end this violence at once and to combat impunity by carrying out independent and transparent investigations into the attacks that have taken place.

Jeanne Cavelier
Head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

Residents in Tavush province began protesting on 19 April after it was announced that the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments had reached an agreement for control of four villages in the region to be returned to Azerbaijan. Led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan and others, they began a march on the capital on 4 May, reaching it five days later. Since then, they have been joined by tens of thousands of supporters and are continuing to stage regular protests in Yerevan’s Republic Square.

Ranked 43rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2024 World Press Freedom Index, Armenia is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of disinformation and hate-mongering, above all in connection with the constant threat of war with neighbouring Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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