On December 9 RA National Assembly elected the four members of the National Commission
on Television and Radio. As it has been reported, according to the amendments
introduced to the broadcast legislation on February 26, 2007, the half of the
eight members of the regulatory body is appointed by the RA President for six
years, and the other half – is elected by the parliament for the same term (see
YPC Weekly Newsletter, February
23 – March 1, 2007). On April 28, 2009 legislatives amendments, regulating
the procedure of election of NCTR members, were made (see YPC Weekly Newsletter,
April 24-30, 2009).
To hold the competition for filling the vacancies at the NCTR, the testing and
interviews with candidates a commission of six members was formed. The members
were nominated by the parliamentary factions: Suren Gevorgian (Chairman) and
Karen Aghamian (both by Republican Party of Armenia), Aram Hovhannissian (by
“Prosperous Armenia”), Manvel Mkrtchian (by ARF “Dashnaktsutiun”), Lyudmila
Melikian (by “Orinats Yerkir”) and Anna Israelian (by “Heritage”).
After the deadline for submitting applications for the competition Anna Israelian,
the observer of “Aravot” daily, refused further participation in the work of
the commission. Anna Israelian explained the reasons of her refusal in an article
“Nobody Who Could Change NCTR Is Nominated”, published in “Aravot” daily on
November 13, 2009. “(…) After introducing to the names of competition participants,
it became clear, there is no candidate among them, who would persistently raise
the issues of the quality of TV air and violations made, within all these years,
would manifest his/her knowledge of the legislation of the sphere, and, especially,
who would know what is NCTR supposed to but doesn’t do. The names of such experts
are known. I asked some of them why they were not nominated as candidates. It
turned out that none of them was fascinated with the perspective to be in such
a situation as NCTR members Karineh Khodikian and Ara Tadevosian were in 2002.
Their votes could not affect the issue of “A1+” and the previously determinated
winners (this concerns the broadcast licensing competitions during which the
applications of “A1+” TV company were always considered to be lower than the
other applicants by the majority of NCTR voting members, Ed. Note). Moreover,
given the fact that in April 2007 Grigor Amalian, the driving force of NCTR,
was reappointed by the decree of Robert Kocharian (RA Second President, Ed.
Note) as Chairman of the Commission until 2013, the experts, who have been criticizing
his activities, considered the idea of working with that person to be insulting
itself. Likewise, the field was voluntarily left for those who, obviously, will
not dispute the decisions of the majority. (…) Many of the nominated candidates
are quite respectable personalities, but for them the situation dominating in
the Armenian TV air is acceptable enough (…)”, the article noted in particular.
Alen Simonian continued the work at the competition commission from “Heritage”
faction, instead of Anna Israelian.
Applications for participating in the competition were submitted by 8 candidates.
After the testing and interview one of the candidates was eliminated, hence
7 candidates pretended to the four vacant positions of the NCTR.
On December 9, RA NA deputies voted the four members of NCTR: Armen Mkrtchian
(first Armenian citizen to win a case at the European Court of Human Rights),
Hayk Kotanian (former Head of the RA National Assembly Office), Koryun Arakelian
(former Vice-Chairman of “National Unity” party), and Aram Melkonian (former Assistant
to RA Second President Robert Kocharian, subsequently Deputy Head of State Tax