YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


PACE HEARD THE REPORT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE MEDIA IN EUROPE

On January 28 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe heard the report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education on freedom of expression in the media in Europe.

In the section on Armenia the main focus was placed on the defects of the RA broadcast legislation. In particular, it tells about the situation formed after the announcement of the broadcast licensing competition results on April 2, 2002, when "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" TV companies did not receive broadcast licenses. "A new tender for frequencies was announced by the National Commission on Television and Radio on October 15. The 40 day period for submitting bids means that it is doubtful if either of the TV channels, even if they are granted a license, will manage to go on air before the presidential elections in February", the report notes.

The documents quotes the joint statement of Yerevan Press Club and "Internews" non-governmental organization (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 30 – April 5, 2002), where the loss of frequencies by "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" is blamed on the imperfect legislation, as it made it possible for the National Commission on Television and Radio to reshape the broadcasting sphere, ignoring the interests of the acting and established TV companies.

The PACE report notes that the RA Law "On Television and Radio", passed in October 2000, was found to be not satisfactory by Council of Europe experts and is criticized by media representatives, "in particular in so far as both the National Commission on Television and Radio and the Council of Public TV and Radio Company are directly appointed by the President". The rapporteurs also noted that in Resolution 1304 (2002) on the honoring of obligations and commitments by Armenia “the Assembly called on the authorities to amend the broadcast law without delay”.