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Imperious fist against Armenian journalist21.12.2012 | 15:32
In Armenia, another scandal broke out because of the incident between a journalist of the TV-channel "A1 +" Mher Arshakyan and deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Mher Sedrakyan. The latter, as reported in the Armenian media, is the metropolitan authority and has a criminal past.
The video, spread by the TV-channel in the social network Youtube, depicts the MP getting outraged when the journalist dared to ask him a question. Sedrakyan response was very harsh, insulting the dignity and with accents of violence. "Come on, come on, yalla", such was deputy's unique response to a request by the journalist. However, after that Serdakyan used the street vocabulary and threatened the journalist with death: "Get out of here, or I'll break your jaw".
Videotape has received wide publicity. Active members of social networks have criticized behavior of the deputy. There even have appeared cartoons about Mher Serdakyana saying "I'll break your jaw". But many Facebook users have dubbed the deputy's saying "come on, come on, yalla" a real slogan of the candidate from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, the current head of the country Serzh Sargsyan at the presidential elections.
A series of apologies: Unflagging Sedrakyan
After the spread of the video the deputies from the Republican Party began to apologize for the behavior of their colleague. The first was the Vice-Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, the RPA spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov: "I'm sorry about what has happened and apologize to the journalist".
At the same time, Vice-Speaker does not believe that such deputy's move was purposeful. "I do not think Serdakyan spoke intentionally. I think the incident - this is a result of excessive emotion. Yet, I apologize to the journalist", said Sharmazanov. Minister of Education and Science, Deputy Chairman of the RPA Armen Ashotyan has joined the apologies.
Against the background of the apologies by the speakers of the RPA the response of the hero of the incident Mher Sedrakyan looked rather paradoxical. However, he remained in his usual style (this time without the threats and insults): he said he had no regrets about his behavior and he was not going to apologize. According to his version, the incident occurred due to the persistence of the journalist. "At this time I was talking to a man. Journalist wanted to ask a question, I answered him - my friend, now I'm talking, after this, if you want, I'll answer your question. After I repeated this three times, I got angry", the deputy carefully explained.
"To curb the elected representative"
Armenian journalist community fairly quickly reacted to the incident and demanded the parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian examine the happening. "Mr. Abrahamyan, today in the parliament there are deputies who display abusive behavior towards journalists", said in a statement by the members of the media, published in a special group in Facebook. As noted by the journalists, Mher Sedrakyan's behavior is a good example of what was said. "We demand to assess the behavior of the deputy, to curb him and make an apology for his actions", conclude the journalists who came to the defense of their colleague.
Abrahamyan reacted quickly: yesterday he spoke with Mher Arshakyanom. During the meeting, the speaker expressed his regret over the incident and proposed the journalist to meet with Republican elected representative "to speak, to understand why this has happened". Arshakyan, in turn, said he would meet with Serdakyanom "during the interview".
They have also discussed Arshakyan's address to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics. As a result, the journalist said he would appeal to the committee to determine whether the MP had broken parliamentary ethics.
Sedrakyan's behavior, according to observers, is clear evidence that the statements of senior Armenian officials that allegedly in the country the culture of impunity had been eradicated and the threats and violence against journalists had been wiped out are still far from a reality.
Noteworthy are also the statements of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion. "I want everyone to hear again from my mouth, that in our country there is no unpunished people. All the conversations that someone protects someone, someone is untouchable, they are just fairy tale", Sargsyan said at the meeting of the board of police in July this year.
At an extraordinary congress of the RPA Serzh Sargsyan, referring to the issue of violence against journalists, said in particular: "We fundamentally reject the vicious practice of the use of force against journalists; we have opened the entire media field and regained the right of the TV-channels to broadcast".