YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


PARLIAMENTARY HEARINGS ON MEDIA LEGISLATION

On June 4 at the RA National Assembly hearings on the issues of the legislative
regulation of media activities were held by the NA Standing Committee on Science,
Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Issues. As the Chairwoman of the Committee
Hranush Hakobian said in her opening remarks, RA Law “On Television and Radio”
needs reformation, as it was adopted in 2000 and it did not reflect either the
numerous recommendations of international experts or the amendments, made in
the RA Constitution in November 2005. The practice, Hranush Hakobian stressed,
also revealed the imperfection of the law: in particular, over the past few
years a number of its provisions was recognized by the RA Constitutional Court
to be contradictory to the Main Law. The parliamentary hearings, initiated by
the Committee, as its head pointed out, mostly aim at developing a new concept
of broadcasting legislation.

At the hearings the Chairman of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company
(CPTRC) Alexan Harutiunian, the Chairman of the National Commission on Television
and Radio (NCTR) Grigor Amalian, the representatives of journalistic associations,
including Yerevan Press Club, deputies of the RA National Assembly spoke. “Internews”
Media Support NGO presented its concept of broadcasting legislation.

The proposals of Yerevan Press Club on the reformation of the Law “On Television
and Radio” refer primarily to the procedure of the appointment of the members
of the NCTR and CPTRC, the assessment of the bids of broadcasters taking part
in the licensing competitions and determination of winners. In particular, YPC
suggests that a new notion be introduced to the law, that of “public hearings”
(complex of actions, including media coverage of bids, open discussion, etc.),
through the results of which decisions on filling in vacancies in NCTR and CPTRC
must be made, winners of broadcast licensing competitions are to be determined.
Besides, for the proportion of NCTR vacancies to be filled in through the appointment
by the RA President candidacies must be nominated not only eligible by the legal
criteria, but also submitting recommendation letters from five NGOs, operating
in the domains of journalism, law, communications, culture, arts and science
for at least 5 years. The same principle should apply also when filling in the
vacancies at CPTRC. Besides, in the opinion of YPC, after the reformation of
broadcasting legislation it would be effective for the members of the two bodies
to resign (which does not render their future nomination impossible), thus creating
an opportunity to form these bodies in accordance with the new legislative requirements
and the RA Constitution as soon as possible.

As to the determination of the winners of broadcast licensing competitions,
YPC proposed to hold an open rating vote on the bids, assessing them on four
dimensions: volume of self-produced programs; volume of domestically produced
programs; technical and financial capacities of the bidder; professionalism
of the management and human resource recruitment policy.

At the end of the hearings the Chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Education,
Culture, Youth and Sport Issues noted that all proposals made will be analyzed
and the draft amendments to the broadcasting legislation will possibly be submitted
for the autumn session of the RA National Assembly.