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Armenia: Political prisoners freed, reported live via mobile

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It was for times such as this that I decided to follow the example of fellow Frontline Club blogger Guy Degen by getting myself a Nokia N82. After sitting at the Yerevan Opera uploading images taken with a Nikon DSLR, but  transferred to my phone's memory card so I could ftp them via free wi-fi at a cafe, I was wandering home past another park when a few hundred people standing around caught my attention.

When you see things like that in Armenia it usually means something political is happening -- and it was. Earlier in the day a Yerevan court had found four senior opposition figures guilty of organizing the 1 March 2008 post-election disturbances which left 10 people dead. 


The Council of Europe and others, however, consider the case against the four men, including two MPs and a former foreign minister, to be politically motivated. After a year of international pressure an amnesty was announced last week and the still convicted men walked free. The former president and extra-parliamentary opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian was there to greet them. Nothing spectacular, but I managed to tweet a few pics and broadcast a short 20-second live mobile video from the scene via Qik. Meanwhile, Unzipped comments on the release of the men and RFE/RL has more details. There's also my roundup for Global Voices Online here.

Photo: former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanian (left) with former president and extra-parliamentary opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian (right), Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia

1 Comment

Onnik Krikorian | June 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Reply

Talking of the use of mobile phones by professionals, the New York Times Lens blog has this interesting article:

Shawn Rocco, 37, is a professional photographer. He shoots a Motorola E815.

Yes, that’s a cellphone.

Not when he’s actually on assignment for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where he has worked full time since 2002, but in those situations when he doesn’t mind ceding some control to a medium that is idiosyncratic — to say the least — in exchange for the happy prize of serendipity; the image that doesn’t quite emerge as he planned and is therefore all that more meaningful.

“Serendipity is a very powerful thing,” Mr. Rocco said in a telephone interview this week. “I’m not a voyeur, but I like catching people in their own little world, without interrupting them.”


“It’s a way of preserving my artistic sanity,” Mr. Rocco said.link

Actually, the video at the end where Rocco can be seen photographing Obama with a DSLR before switching to a cellphone is funny. What impresses me is how Obama took it in his stride.


Here in Armenia, those that have seen me at news events with DSLRs still are somewhat confused when they see me shoot on a phone, but most are getting used to it.

However, the way Rocco is shown to work is now pretty much how I do, doubling up between DSLR and mobile. Getting used to it, they may be, but I still can't help but think that I'm considered somewhat insane... ;-)

What do you think?