On January 18, Human Rights Watch international organization published its
2005 report on human rights situation in over 70 countries of the world.
The report section on Armenia also covers media situation in the country. In
particular, Human Rights Watch notes that despite the presence of independent
and opposition print media, “the government continued to restrict full media
freedom”. It is illustrated by “A1+” and “Noyan Tapan” TV companies deprived
of air, as well as ceased broadcasting of Russian NTV channel in Armenia, “which
had aired independent news coverage about Armenia”. As mentioned in the report,
amendments to RA Constitution would increase independence of National Commission
on Television and Radio (the body engaged in broadcast licensing), giving Parliament
the right to elect half of its members, while the other half will be appointed
by President. However, journalistic associations, NGOs and the ombudsman have
criticized the Council of Europe for endorsing the proposed constitutional amendments,
which they argue fail to ensure freedom of broadcast media. Besides, they criticized
the authorities for the unwillingness to institute changes increasing independence
of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company, stressed Human Rights Watch.
It reminds that independent public broadcasting is one of Armenia’s obligations
to the Council of Europe.