YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


PACE REMINDS OF A NEED FOR PLURALISTIC ELECTRONIC MEDIA ENVIRONMENT IN ARMENIA

On June 25 in Strasbourg at the plenary session the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 1620 (2008) “The Implementation
by Armenia of Assembly Resolution 1609 (2008)”. Resolution 1620 (2008) was developed
basing on a report of the same name, produced by the Committee on the Honoring
of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (co-rapporteurs
Georges Colombier and John Prescott). As it has been reported, Resolution 1609
(2008) “The Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Armenia” was approved
by PACE on April 17, 2008 (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April
18-24, 2008
).

Section 2 (“Fulfillment of the Assembly’s Requirements”) of the Monitoring
Committee report, submitted to PACE consideration, notes , in particular, the
public hearing on media reform organized by the relevant committee of the RA
National Assembly on June 4 in Yerevan (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter,
May 30 – June 5, 2008). “On the
basis of this hearing a legislative package has been prepared and sent to the
competent sectors of the Council of Europe for opinion. The hearing concluded
that further dialogue between the authorities and the opposition is needed to
overcome a lack of public trust in the current media environment”, the report
of the Monitoring Committee says (paragraph 47). In paragraph 48 the Monitoring
Committee took note of the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights,
which found the refusal of the Armenian authorities to grant a broadcasting
license to “A1+” TV company to be a violation of Article 10 of European Convention
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June
13-19, 2008
). “The granting of a license to this independent and popular
TV channel has been a long-standing demand of the Assembly. We urge the authorities
to grant the broadcasting license to this channel without further delay”, the
report of the Monitoring Committee stressed.

Resolution 1620 (2008), approved by PACE on June 25, quotes the four main requirements
of the Resolution 1609 (2008) of April 17, 2008, also that “to initiate an open
and serious dialogue between all political forces in Armenia” with regard to
a number of issues, including freedom and pluralism of the media (paragraph
1.4 of Resolution 1620).

Paragraph 6 of Resolution 1620 (2008) says: “The Assembly recalls that there
is a need for a pluralistic electronic media environment in Armenia and, referring
to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the denial
of broadcasting license to ‘A1+’, calls on the licensing authority to now ensure
an open, fair and transparent licensing procedure, in line with the guidelines,
adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on March 26,
2008 and with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.”