YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


“A1+” TV COMPANY INTENDS TO FILE ANOTHER SUIT VERSUS THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TELEVISION AND RADIO

On November 24 at the press-conference of the Director of “A1+” TV company Mesrop Movsisian and the Chairman of International Union of Lawyers Tigran Ter-Esayan, representing “A1+” in court disputes, it was announced that “A1+” founder, “Meltex” LLC, intends to file a suit versus the National Commission on Television and Radio soon. “Meltex” demands to annul the decision of the National Commission on granting “Cinemax” LLC a license to broadcast on the 63rd UHF of Yerevan. As it has been reported, by the voting results of October 13, 2003, “Cinemax” became the winner of the broadcast licensing competition, in which “A1+” was also a bidder (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 10-16, 2003). It should be noted that “Cinemax”, broadcasting on this frequency earlier, started the complete rebroadcasting of “EuroNews” TV channel and the self-produced programs of “ArmNews” TV company since March, 2003.

According to the head of “A1+” and the lawyer, the application that “Cinemax” submitted to the competition contained false and distorted information, however, this circumstance was not taken into account by the National Commission on Television and Radio. Thus, the application described the programming policy, the technical equipment and the personnel of “ArmNews” TV company. Yet, as the representatives of “A1+” maintain, as of October 2, 2003 “ArmNews” TV company was not officially registered as a mass communication medium, and the only medium, entitled to broadcast on the 63rd UHF till the announcement of the voting results on October 13, was “Cinemax” TV editorial office, registered by its founder, “Cinemax” LLC, on January 31, 2000. In other words, “ArmNews” TV company aired on the frequency of “Cinemax” had no legal affiliation with the bidder in the broadcast licensing competition, and therefore, “Cinemax” could not quote its capacities to justify its application.

The application package of “Cinemax” had another item that “A1+” representatives were alarmed with: the abstract from the contract between “ArmNews” TV company and “EuroNews” channel for the re-broadcasting of the latter’s programs on the 63rd UHF. As noted above, “ArmNews” had no legal authority to use this frequency, and therefore was not entitled to signing a rebroadcasting contract. Moreover, this abstract was submitted in Armenian language, was sealed by a private entrepreneur from Armavir region Satenik Hunanian and had a note: “The translator bears responsibility only for truthful translation from English language into Armenian and not for the validity of the facts narrated in the document”. All this renders the whole contract questionable.

The leader of “A1+” TV company noted also that since March this year, “Cinemax”, being the owner of the 63rd UHF, actually violated Article 23 of the RA Law “On Television and Radio” and Article 20 of the RA Law “On Press and Other Media Outlets”, not complying with their provisions calling for daily announcement of its name, TV programme schedule, other company information on the air. Instead, only the names and the logotypes of “ArmNews” and “EuroNews” were aired.

Proceeding from this all, the representatives of “A1+” TV company announced that “A1+” TV company was refused a license on October 13 by the resolution of the National Commission on Television and Radio on illegal grounds, violating Articles 50 and 47 of the RA Law “On Television and Radio” and a number of other norms.