On November 4 the National Assembly of Armenia passed a draft on introducing amendments to the RA Law “On Television and Radio”. As it has been reported, the draft, discussed at the RA NA on October 21-22, was negatively assessed by the journalistic community of the country and the parliament opposition. The greatest criticism is caused by the provisions referring to the bodies, regulating the broadcast sphere (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 17-23, 2003).
Meanwhile, the authors of the amendments to the broadcast law (six NA deputies) ignored the package of proposals on the improvement of the draft and the law as such, submitted to the Parliament as far back as on October 14 by the working group on media legislation, set up on the initiate of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The allegations of the draft supporters that it took into account practically all the recommendations of the Council of Europe are groundless: the document only includes some, secondary items of the CE expert evaluation.
On November 5 the Parliament passed in the first hearing the draft amendments to “The Statutes of the National Commission on Television and Radio”. The document introduces time restrictions on the broadcasts of horror movies, films and programs of erotic nature: their airing is permitted from 24.00 till 6.00. A penalty for the violation of this provision is stipulated, amounting to 120 minimum salaries, in case of a repeated violation within a year the penalty will make 200 minimal salaries.
On the same day another draft on introducing changes to the RA Law “On Television and Radio” passed the first reading. The document was initiated by the NA deputies Viktor Dallakian and Artak Arakelian. According to it, the daily TV air must have at least one children and one news program with a gesture translation and subtitles in Armenian languages for hearing and speech impaired viewers.