A correspondent for RFE/RL’s Armenian service was threatened and chased by a man while reporting on safety standards at Armenia’s liquefied gas stations on Monday.
The furious young man turned on the reporter, Narine Ghalechian, when she approached one such station in Sevan, a town 55 kilometers north of Yerevan, and started filming it. He didn’t explain his rage during the incident.
“I switched off and hid the video camera to prevent him from damaging it but kept holding the microphone in a visible way, which was enough for him to understand that I’m a journalist, then ran away and got in the car” Ghalechian said afterwards. “I told him not to approach me or I will call the police, which made him even angrier.
“He reached for the car’s door which I already locked. When he realized that the door is locked he started kicking and punching it.”
Ghalechian then headed to a police station and reported the incident to senior officers there. The man was brought into the police station for questioning later in the day.
Police officers also inspected the damaged car used by the RFE/RL crew. They pledged to hold the violent man accountable.
Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, was quick to express concern at the incident. A statement by Tatoyan’s office said he has formally appealed to the Armenian police to conduct an investigation.