On October 7 at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe the draft report of the PACE Monitoring Committee on the Implementation of Resolutions 1361 (2004) and 1374 (2004) on the honoring of obligations and commitments by Armenia (corapporteurs Jerzy Jaskiernia and Rene Andre) was heard. As it has been reported, some clauses of the report, also those referring to the information sphere, evoked the criticism of the Partnership for Open Society Initiative, uniting over 40 NGOs of Armenia. In its comments, presented on October 4, the Partnership noted in particular the lack of exact information and thorough analysis of the country situation in the report (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 1-7, 2004).
At the PACE session Resolution 1405 (2004) was adopted on the honoring of obligations and commitments to the CE by Armenia, the definitions of which, including the clauses on media, mostly repeat the draft report heard.
Thus, the Resolution approved by PACE retains with almost no change item 3iii of the report, which notes positively the investigations on the recent incidents and human rights abuses, including attacks on journalists and human rights activists and point out that “information was provided to the Assembly on a case of legal action against persons responsible for assaults against journalists”.
The same item 3 of the Resolution was supplemented by paragraph v, which was placed in the explanatory memorandum of the draft report. It again notes as a positive development that “one frequency has been freed, without contests, on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement and within the framework of the law “On Television and Radio” a frequency which was given to the Russian “Kultura” TV Channel for rebroadcasting”.
Three more items of the Resolution did not suffer any modifications as compared with the report. Item 9 reads: “The Assembly notes that the last amendments to the Law on Radio and Television request that the National Broadcasting Commission should add arguments when awarding broadcasting licenses, thus preventing the adoption of arbitrary decisions.” Item 10 iv stresses that Armenia takes steps to “revise, in cooperation with the Council of Europe’s experts and with due to the recommendations already made and those yet to be made, Articles 135, 136 and 318 of the Criminal Code in order to remove any possibility of making insult and defamation subject to a prison sentence”. In paragraph iii of Item 11 PACE expects rapid progress in “the developments in the media sector in Armenia: it expects that on the basis of the recent amendments to the Law on Radio and Television, the composition of the National Broadcasting Commission will be renewed as soon as possible and that fair conditions for awarding broadcasting licenses to televisions, in particular to A1+ television channel, will be created”.