YEREVAN, (AFP) - The Paris-based press watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) Tuesday denounced "violence" against journalists covering the presidential elections in Armenia, a day before a runoff vote.
During the first round February 19, a correspondent of the opposition weekly Ayzhm was thrown against the wall of a polling station by unidentified individuals as she was covering electoral violations, RSF said. Two journalists with the television station Shant were hit and
their video tapes were taken as they filmed a man stuffing ballots into a ballot-box in the same polling station, it said in a statement received by AFP.
"We ask you to do everything possible to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the second round on March 5," RSF chief Robert Menard said in a letter to Artak Sahradian, the president of the electoral commission. "We point out that, while the media must adhere to strict rules to avoid favouring any candidate during an election, the authorities for their part must ensure that journalists are free to cover the polling," he added.
Western election monitors denounced irregularities in the poll in the former Soviet Caucasus republic, which they said had favoured incumbent Robert Kocharian. In the first round vote, Kocharian took 49.4 percent of the ballot while his top challenger, Stepan Demirchian, collected 28.2 percent.