RAPID ACTION NETWORK
9 August 2016 – PEN International is seriously concerned with the theft of cartoons from the Director of MediaLab’s car on 7 August 2016, following an outdoor exhibition in Mashtots Park in Yerevan. The exhibition was moved to Mahstots Park after the initial venue no longer wanted to hold the event apparently for fear of repercussions. PEN International calls on the Armenian police to immediately and thoroughly investigate the attack and ensure that media organisations in Armenia are able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of reprisals or harassment.
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Send appeals to the Armenian authorities:
- Urging the Armenian police to fully investigate the theft on 7 August 2016 of cartoons from MediaLab.
- Calling on the police to ensure that MediaLab is able to carry out its legitimate activities without fear of reprisals or harassment.
Send appeals to:
Chief of Police
130 Nalbandyan Str.
- Police in #Armenia must investigate the theft of @ cartoons on 7th August & ensure they can work #freefromfear of harassment.
Send copies of your appeals via the Embassy of Armenia in your own country. Embassy addresses may be found here.
**Please contact PEN International in London if sending appeals after 9 September 2016**
Please keep us informed of any action you take, including any responses you receive from the authorities.
MediaLab is an online news website based in Yerevan, Armenia. On 7 August they held a cartoon exhibition in Mashtots Park in Yerevan. The event was initially planned to be held elsewhere, but the hosts cancelled and according to reports, no other venues were willing to hold the exhibition for fear of repercussions. Following the exhibition, the Director of MediaLab’s car was broken into, his back windshield smashed, and all the cartoons stolen. The incident was reported to the police arrived over an hour after the attack was reported. MediaLab have faced pressure and harassment from various channels in the past.
Armenia came 74 out of 180 countries investigated in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. In their report they claim that police violence and harassment against journalists is rarely brought to court. Human Rights Watch recorded 19 cases of violence against journalists in 2015, most of which surrounded the 2015 Yerevan electricity riots. In the 2015 Case List, PEN International reported two incidents of harassment in Armenia
Alongside potential violence, journalists in Armenia have to contend with extremely costly defamation cases, political influence on content, and a climate of impunity for violence against journalists. There is however, less pressure on online media outlets than for broadcasters and print journalism.
For further information please contact Ann Harrison at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: firstname.lastname@example.org