YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


BROADCAST LICENSING COMPETITION POSTPONED AGAIN

On January 30 "Dar 21", "ARMENAKOB", "TV 5", "Yerevan" and "EV" TV companies filed a suit versus the National Commission on Television and Radio with the RA Commercial Court. The suit proceeded from the refusal of the National Commission to return the bids submitted by the TV companies for the broadcast licensing competition on the five UHFs in Yerevan (27th, 31st, 39th, 51st and 58th). The request of the broadcasters was based on the fact that the information, contained in the bids, needs revision since the competition was delayed for over two months. The National Commission refused this request, saying that otherwise it would exceed its authority and violate the law.

As it has been reported, the broadcast licensing competition announced on October 15 last year was suspended a month later by the decision of the RA Commercial Court (which secured the relevant petition of "Noyan Tapan" LLC) until the end of proceedings on the suit of "Noyan Tapan" versus the National Commission (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, November 16-22, 2002). After the decision of the Cassation Court in favor of "Noyan Tapan" on January 17, 2003, the bids for occupying five frequencies in the capital were to be considered by the National Commission on January 31 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 18-24, 2003).

Yet on the evening before the competition it became known that five TV companies above challenged the refusal of the National Commission in court and have petitioned the Commercial Court to suspend the competition to ensure the suit. On the same day, January 30, the court secured the petition. The court hearings on the case are appointed for February 14.

The situation with freezing the competition greatly alarms the journalistic community and, primarily, "A1+" TV company, deprived of air for about ten months (it did not receive a license on April 2, 2002). The chance for the TV company to participate in the new competition and renew the air is constantly postponed. According to the head of "A1+" Mesrop Movsisian, the TV company intends to file a counter-claim. Also, the staff of the TV company (70 people) thinks of addressing the embassies operating in Armenia, requesting a political asylum.