YPC Weekly Newsletter

2003


ARMENIAN PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION INDIGNANT AT THE NON GRANTING OF LICENSES TO "A1+" AND "NOYAN TAPAN"

The refusal of the National Commission on Television and Radio to grant broadcast licenses to "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" TV companies (see the Special Issue of YPC Weekly Newsletter, July 18, 2003) caused a wave of indignation among the Armenian and international public.

Criticism to the address of the National Commission was voiced by both the representatives of ruling coalition, and the opposition political forces of Armenia.

On July 21 the address of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Freimut Duve was released where the absence of "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" was qualified as a proof of restricted freedom of expression in Armenia. On July 23 the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer called the decision of the National Commission "another example of insufficient respect for pluralism in Armenia which has been troubling us for several months – in particular during the recent election campaigns". Reminding the Armenian authorities of their promises to give the independent broadcasters an opportunity "to become a part of the audiovisual landscaper in Armenia", Walter Schwimmer stressed that the time had come to accept the expression of a broader range of opinions if Armenia wanted to become further integrated into Europe. On July 25 Ambassador Daan Everts, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Netherlands Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, addressed a letter to the Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian on behalf of the Netherlands Chairmanship of OSCE, according to which the absence of "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" from the air "raises concern about the pluralistic nature of the broadcast media in Armenia". The situation of "A1+" and "Noyan Tapan" was also presented on July 31 in the Regular Report of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Freimut Duve to the OSCE Permanent Council.