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Armenian Journalist Claims She Was Sacked for Complaining Against Lawmakers

Armenian journalist Lilit Lalayan (pictured), working simultaneously with Henaran.am and Past.am, filed an application in mid-January to the Armenian parliament's Ethics Committee, asking authorities to look into the conduct of 7 lawmakers who, according to the reporter, had voted for absent colleagues during previous NA sessions. Several days later, Lalayan was fired from her position in Henaran.am. 

“I also submitted [to the Committee] a video recording which had been published on Past.am. The tape clearly shows the lawmakers voting for each other. On January 20, the Ethics Committee accepted the application and initiated proceedings, and is set to issue a decision on February 11,” Lalayan told Epress.am Monday.

On January 21, Henaran.am editor-in-chief Lilit Davtyan, who is the wife of NA Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov, phoned Lalayan and asked the reporter to contact her on Facebook: “The entire conversation took place on Facebook. She asked why I had applied to the Ethics Committee without getting her approval first. She also talked about my job at Past.am, despite being aware of it since my first day at 'Henaran.' We exchanged our views on journalism, after which she told me I was fired,” Lalayan said.

Davtyan, as stated by the reporter, cited Lalayan's work at Past.am, as well as the reporter's failure to inform her of the application to the Ethics Committee as justification for sacking her: “I don't understand why I should get [Davtyan’s] approval on my activities for Past.am. I’m sure, I was fired because she didn’t like the fact that I had [complained against lawmakers] to the NA Ethics Committee.”

Lilit Davtyan subsequently issued a statement in connection with the incident, claiming, without elaborating further, that the reporter was fired because she had “violated several provisions of Henaran.am's code of conduct.”

“Journalists' flow from one media outlet to another is a common phenomenon […] There's no need to look for political context where there is none. Besides, along with Lilit Lalayan, a number of other journalists were removed from their positions in the same period of time,” Davtyan's statement read.

Speaking to Epress.am, however, Lalayan assured that she had no history of any prior warnings or reprimands: “Getting fired instead of being encouraged for doing something that promotes journalists' freedom of speech is insulting to me. This can negatively affect other reporters also: from now on, they will know not to dare do anything of the kind out of fear of losing their jobs.”