Prime Minister’s guards obstruct Channel 5 film crew
TV Channel 5 journalist Azad Safarov has accused Prime Minister Azarov’s security guards of obstructing his work and that of his colleagues on Saturday. He writes in his Telekritika blog that this was during the visit by the President and Prime Minister to the tent camp set up by people protesting against the newly passed Tax Code.
He says that neither he, nor photographer Olena Sorokina were allowed into the tent where Azarov was talking with the protesters. What is most odd, he writes, is that the guards did not stop journalists from Inter, 1+1 or ICTV from entering. On the contrary, they had been informed in advance of the visit and arrived together with the high-ranking officials. (Although recent monitoring shows that the divide is less and less clear cut, Channel 5 is generally regarded as independent, whereas Inter and ICTV take a generally very pro-regime stance and 1+1 increasingly avoids subjects likely to be viewed askance by the regime – translator). Azad Safarov asserts that when they arrived, the guards prevented them from entering. They ignored his request to give their names and show their ID. When Azarov began leaving the tent, Azad Safarov and Olena Sorokina were roughly shoved away from the tent, and the guards tried to pull the microphone wire from the camera. It was only after the protesters began shouting that Channel 5 was being prevented from filming, that Azarov ordered them to be let through. The guards nonetheless continued trying to detach the microphone wire. The DVcamDSR-390 camera was damaged as a result, and Azar Safarov writes that he hopes the President’s Administration or the Department in charges of the guards will pay the cost and also at least apologize to the woman photographer.