Media Groups Condemn New Attack on Journalist

YEREVAN (RFE-RL)–Armenia’s three leading media associations condemned on Thursday a reported attack on the editor of a provincial newspaper–calling it the result of the failure of authorities to properly investigate similar incidents earlier this year.

In a joint statement–the Yerevan Press Club–the Journalists Union of Armenia–and the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression demanded an "objective investigation" into the incident and punish the guilty.

Samvel Aleksanian–the editor of the "Syuniats Yerkir" newspaper based in the southeastern town of Ghapan–said he was beaten up by three young men in his office on Wednesday for publishing articles that criticized the government’s decision to close two regional schools. He described the attackers as the local leaders of the youth league of the Republican Party (HHK).

Police in Ghapan have pledged to investigate Aleksanian’s claims.

"If they are guilty they must not only be expelled from the party but also punished by law," said Galust Sahakian–the leader of the HHK faction in parliament.

"Apparently–the lack of punishment in a number of recent incidents of violence against media representatives or the mild punishmen’s imposed on their perpetrators led some people to think that they can intimidate journalists," said the statement by the journalist unions.

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