The offices of the Paris-based Nouvelle d’ Arménie were ransacked on Saturday and equipment was stolen, according to the publication’s website, which reported the break in.
According to the reports, the door to the office was broken and the offices were ransacked. The publication officials reported that three computers and one camera were stolen from the premises. The next issue of the magazine was scheduled to go to press.
“Computers, which were of no financial value and contained the layout of our next issue of the magazine and a number of important information—reporters’ notes and non-published interviews—were stolen,” Nouvelles d’Arménie reported on its website.
Armenia’s Embassy in France was quick to condemn the incident, describing the attack as “a serious encroachment on freedom of speech and the values of the republic.”
The editorial board of the magazine is linking the attack to the activism of its editor-in-chief, Ara Toranian, who is also the co-chairman of the Coordinating Committee of Armenian Organizations in France, known as CCAF.
Toranian, who has been a vocal advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition, was particularly active in recent criticizing Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria. He represented the CCAF in an event alongside noted academic Bernard-Henri Lévy on October 12 at the theatre Gymnasium in Paris addressing human rights violations.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member and CCAF co-chair Mourad Papazian said the attack was the work of the Turkish services that operate in Paris.
“We expected such an offensive by the ambassador of turkey in France against anti-Erdogan circles. This attack not only aims to collect information about our future projects but also was an attempt at bullying the community. As a result, we ask the French authorities for intense attention to protect the community’s freedom of expression.”
Armenia’s Union of Journalists also issued an announcement Monday, condemning the attack.
“This isn’t the first attack on the magazine, and as stated by the magazine’s staff none of the previous cases have unfortunately been resolved. The reputed media outlet has for many years raised issues of pan-Armenian significance, condemning the denial of the Armenian Genocide, its support for the Republic of Artsakh. Any kind of violence or pressure against free speech is a great problem for any democratic state,” said Armenia’s Union of Journalists in its announcement.