YEREVAN. – During the election campaign, Armenian News-NEWS.am agency has been posting the Facebook messages and live videos of the representatives of different political forces to ensure equal coverage for all political forces running for the parliament.
We have also posted the live videos by RPA deputy chairman Eduard Sharmazanov, including “They started looking for people who will give evidence against us: Sharmazanov provides names” and “Sharmazanov: RPA supporters are called to police for explanations”.
Representative of the General Department of Criminal Investigation visited the office of NEWS.am on December 7 evening demanding that we should provide the evidence with the proofs of the above mentioned statements.
After the lawyers interfered, the police employee left two notes that mention the publications and contain a request to provide “specific or additional facts proving the above mentioned”.
Police employee said this was not his last visit to NEWS.am editorial, and he will periodically visit the office demanding similar proofs in connection with various publications. Two police officers from Shengavit police department visited the office after the agency’s chief editor posted a relevant message on Facebook. They tried to assure that they were neither aware of who had visited the office, nor they knew the goal of his visit. They assumed that the visitor might not be an employee of police.
It should be noted that the notes provided by police employee clearly show that those sending an inquiry realized that the matter was the videos published on Eduard Sharmazanov's Facebook page, and naturally, the editorial could not have obtained “specific or additional facts confirming the above mentioned” or as verbally presented, the proofs.
Such a visit conducted two days ahead of the election and “the threats” to come back periodically, are nothing but an attempt to influence number one news agency in Armenia and the region and are targeted at interfering with full and comprehensive coverage of the elections.
Such an approach is unacceptable and endangers the freedom of speech in a country that has declared itself a democratic and legitimate state.
Armenian News-NEWS.am declares that we will continue working in the style we always adhered to, that is we will henceforth continue providing impartial and comprehensive information and will not permit violation of our rights as well as any attempt of direct and indirect pressure.