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STATEMENT by RFE/RL President Jamie Fly

WASHINGTON -- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Fly has issued the following statement:

“I am disturbed by physical and verbal attacks on Azatutyun journalists covering the February 23 protests in Yerevan. Our journalists are only trying to bring live news reporting to our audiences in Armenia. While I am heartened that Armenia’s Investigative Committee has initiated a probe that could result in criminal charges against those who obstructed the legal professional activities of Azatutyun’s journalists, I urge Armenian law enforcement to make sure that all journalists can do their jobs without fear of harm.”

BACKGROUND: RFE/RL Armenian Service journalists RFE/RL Armenian Service journalist Artak Khulian and cameraman Karen Chilingarian, on assignment to provide live coverage of the opposition protests in Yerevan on February 23, were attacked by a group of protesters who kicked them, used abusive language against them, and damaged their equipment. Armenia’s Investigative Committee announced on March 3 that it had opened a probe into the attack, after a criminal case was opened by the Central Police Department under Article 164, Part 1 of the Criminal Code ("Obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of a journalist").