YPC Weekly Newsletter

2005


DRAFT AMENDMENTS TO THE RA CONSTITUTION ADOPTED

On September 28 the RA National Assembly passed the draft amendments to the Constitution of Armenia in the third reading and finally.

As it has been reported, before the discussion of the draft in the third reading Yerevan Press Club made its proposals to the National Assembly on the amendments to the Constitution. The statement of YPC, disseminated on September 15, noted the insufficient involvement of Armenian public in the constitutional reform process and concern was voiced over certain provisions of the draft, particularly, those referring to freedom of expression and information. Since the draft cannot be substantially improved after the second reading, Yerevan Press Club made proposals of editorial nature that would make the appropriate provisions more specific and would contribute to the greater clarity of phrasings (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 9-15, 2005).

The proposals of editorial nature made by YPC were taken into account in the final text of the Constitution.

At the same time, YPC proposed to introduce the greatest clarity possible in the status and the role of body created in the sphere of broadcast media. Namely, it was recommended that Article 83.2 ("To ensure freedom, independence and diversity of broadcast mass media, in accordance with the law, an independent body is established. Half of its members are elected by the National Assembly, and the other half is appointed by the President of the Republic – for 6 years’ term of service. The National Assembly elects the members of this body by a majority of the total number of deputies”) be narrated as follows: “In accordance with the law, a body is established, regulating the activities of public and private broadcast mass media, contributing to their diversity. To ensure the greatest independence of this body, half of its members are elected by the National Assembly and half is appointed by the President of the Republic – for 6 years’ term of service. The National Assembly elects the members of this body by a majority of the total number of deputies.”

In the text of the Constitution adopted in the third reading Article 83.2 did not undergo significant changes, but for one clarification: the body mentioned in it is now specified on only as “independent”, but also as “regulatory”. Thus, the Article is presently narrated as follows: “To ensure freedom, independence and diversity of broadcast mass media, in accordance with the law, an independent regulatory body is established. Half of its members are elected, for 6 years’ term of service, by the National Assembly, half is appointed by the President of the Republic – for 6 years’ term of service. The National Assembly elects the members of this body by a majority of the total number of deputies.” In other words, the purpose of establishing a regulatory body and its status remain vaguely defined in the Main Law.