YPC Weekly Newsletter

2007


RADIO COMPANIES PROTEST AGAINST THE PRICE RAISE

On December 27, 2006 eight radio companies of Armenia – “Avrora”, “Alfa”, “Van”,
“Vem”, “Autoradio”, “HAY”, Hai FM 105.5, “City FM” – addressed a letter to the
RA President Robert Kocharian, the Chairman of the RA National Assembly Tigran
Torosian, the RA Prime Minister Andranik Margarian (copies were directed also
to the Chairman of the National Commission on Television and Radio Grigor Amalian
and the RA Minister of Transportation and Communication Andranik Manukian),
announcing their refusal to pay the annual fee for servicing their frequencies
to the Republican Center of Telecommunications. In accordance with the decree
of the RA Minister of Transportation and Communication of November 1, 2006,
new, higher fees on frequency servicing were introduced, and RCT demanded to
pay them for 2006 before December 25.

“The decree above was issued in breach of legislative provisions, and we are
convinced that it will tell adversely on the broadcast sphere”, the address
says. In the opinion of the letter signatories, the decree of the Transportation
and Communication Minister runs contrary to Article 9 of the RA Law “On Legal
Acts”, stipulating that “the kinds, amounts and the procedures of tax, duty
and other mandatory payments made by natural and legal persons” must be defined
“by law only”. Besides, the letter notes, the new tariffs were approved only
in the end of the year, whereas, according to Article 42 of the Armenian Constitution,
“laws and other legal acts, deteriorating the legal situation of a person, do
not have retroactive effect”. Thus, the radio stations were notified of the
new procedure and tariffs of the fees only in the end of the year: “This approach
sets climate of unpredictability in broadcast market and deprives the companies
of a possibility to do early planning for their activities.” Besides, according
to the letter, the dramatic raise of tariffs occurred in a situation when many
of the TV and radio companies were encountering technical problems throughout
the year in using the frequencies allocated, “but failed to receive adequate
assistance”.

The signatory radio companies announced that they refuse to pay until the issue
is resolved in compliance with the legal provisions, and called on the authorities
of the country to ensure legitimate solution of the problem.