Mukoyan, the editor of the "OR"
newspaper was hospitalized with a broken
nose and hemotoma of the eye.
The editor of "Or" newspaper in Yerevan
was carjacked and severely beaten September 27
by unknown men wearing black stocking caps.
Gayane Mukoyan, 30, has been released from Yerevan
Hospital No. 2, where she was hospitalized with
a broken nose and hemotoma of the eye.
Shortly after midnight last Saturday, Mukoyan
and her husband Rafael Hovakimyan, director of
"Or", were returning home when their
Jhiguli brand vehicle was crossed by a white Niva
car without a license plate in the Nor Nork district
of the capital.
Four men dragged Mukoyan and her husband from
the car. Two attackers hit Hovakimyan on the head
and forced him back into car, while two others
started to beat Mukoyan until she lost consciousness.
Sos Shahinyan, a doctor on duty when the two
were admitted around 1:20 a.m., said both victims
suffered concussions and that surgery was performed
to repair Mukoyan's nose.
Police are investigating the incident but so
far have made no arrests.
Mukoyan believes the attack was directly related
to recent stories in her newspaper and is retaliation
from "people who were sharply criticized
by our newspaper".
Some weeks ago "Or" started an investigation
and published stories accusing several businessman
for being responsible for recent (artificial,
according to the paper) price increases in bread.
"I am sure those stories made many feel
unhappy," Mukoyan said.
The newspaper, published thrice weekly, started
about 18 months ago and is widely perceived by
other media as "gutter press" and a
Last year journalists societies in Armenia harshly
condemned Mukoyan and her newspaper when it published
an article about the editor of "Aravot"
(Morning) newspaper Aram Abrahamyan, accompanied
by photographs of him with a prostitute.
The journalists accused Mukoyan of taking a payoff
for publishing the photos, which were taken from
a hidden video camera believed to have been planted
by opponents wishing to blackmail the outspoken
Yerevan journalists announced a boycott of Mukoyan
and her newspaper over the incident, and excluded
her from the National Press Club and Association
of Investigative Journalists.
The editor denies speculation that the attack
could have been for personal reasons. Her former
husband is presently in prison for murder.
"The attack was well thought-out. I do not
think that my ex-husband could afford to hire
professionals to beat me. The aim of the attackers
was to frighten me. It was not revenge for my
personal life," she said.
Some local media are saying Mukoyan was beaten
because her publication had previously taken payoffs
from politicians and powerful businessmen to not
publish unflattering stories. But when it did
not agree to a payoff in this case, according
to other media, certain businessman decided to
punish the editor.
Mukoyan says that her paper, which is the cheapest
in Armenia (about nine cents), sells about 2,500
copies per issue.
Unlike other publications in Armenia, "Or"
is neither pro-government nor oppositional and
regularly criticizes both political sides.
Mukoyan wonders why some local journalists expressed
an indifferent attitude toward her attack.
attack was directly related to recent stories
in the newspaper..." says Mukoyan.
"Some media and media organizations prefer
to ignore the incident and think of the boycott
that once they demonstrated. But the journalist
in Armenia is not safe and each must think that
tomorrow he may become the target of someone's
hate and appear in my state," she said.
Attacks on journalists are a rare but not unknown
phenomena in Armenia.
Last October Mark Grigoryan, a well-known independent
Armenian journalist (who recently moved to London)
was badly injured when an assailant threw an explosive
device at his feet. Law enforcement called it
a pre-meditated murder attempt.
And last December journalist Tigran Naghdalyan
was murdered in a case that is now being heard.
to see related story.)
Despite the general negative attitude toward
"Or" newspaper the Armenian media community
severely condemned the attack on Mukoyan.
The newspaper "Golos Armenii" wrote
that censorship in Armenia is being developed
not within the legal framework (as a new media
law has passed the first reading in Parliament)
but by people who can not stand any criticism
and resort to lynch law.
"One of the most disgraceful traditions
of sovereign Armenia is that the problems are
being solved by force," the newspaper writes.