Media-rights observers fear that the Armenian government’s attempt to force two media outlets to disclose the names of confidential sources has set a dangerous precedent for the future of journalism in Armenia.
Early in May, the government-critical daily newspaper Hraparak (“The Square”) and news site Ilur.am reported on an alleged altercation in the northern city of Gyumri between a regional police chief and the passengers of a car supposedly stopped for a traffic violation.
Citing unnamed, “reliable” sources, the two publications claimed that the chief, Vardan Nadarian, allegedly intoxicated at the time, had physically assaulted the driver and his passenger and threatened them with a gun.
Nadarian’s reported choice of car was unfortunate. According to the two publications, it contained Greco-Roman wrestler Artur Aleksanian, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and three-time European champion, and his brother, Rafael, also a wrestler.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.