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RFE/RL’s Ghalechian Wins Yerevan Press Club Award

Narine Ghalechian accepts her Yerevan Press Club award on July 18, 2017 (file photo)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Armenian Service journalist Narine Ghalechian has received one of the country’s most prestigious journalism awards for demonstrating “the best combination of high quality journalism with innovation.”

The Yerevan Press Club’s Valery Aydinyan Prize is named after one of the press club’s founders and a member of Armenia’s Council of Public Television and Radio who died in 2001.

“Narine has the natural skills in going after, digging deeper, and finding out the facts – which are the core principles in investigative journalism,” said RFE/RL Armenian Service Director Hrair Tamrazian.

That her work is not without risk was demonstrated most recently on August 14 when she was threatened and chased by a man while reporting on safety standards at Armenia’s liquefied gas stations in the northeastern town of Sevan. Police officers pledged to hold the man, who kicked and punched the locked car door with Ghalechian inside, accountable.

Ghalechian was previously attacked in May, 2017, when two men tried to seize her camera to stop her from recording scenes of crowding at polling stations during municipal elections.

The car Ghalechian was travelling in following an attack on August 14, 2017 (file photo)
The car Ghalechian was travelling in following an attack on August 14, 2017 (file photo)

Ghalechian has worked for a decade for the Armenian Service, known locally as Radio Azatutyun, earning a reputation for tough reporting on corruption and public accountability. She currently hosts the weekly radio show In Fact, which promotes public discussion of Armenia’s most pressing social and economic issues.

In her early days with the Service, she anchored its award-winning youth radio program Maxliberty before moving on to pioneer the format for the Service’s popular Facebook Press Conference.

The weekly program, which has logged over 1 million views, features an in-studio guest, often a public official, who is questioned by Facebook and YouTube users during a live broadcast that is available on audio and video platforms.

Ghalechian received the Aydinyan Prize on July 18. Previous Radio Azatutyun recipients are Website Editor Artur Papian, 2011; and correspondents Ruzanna Khachatrian, Karine Kalantarian, and Hrach Melkumian, 2003.