YPC Weekly Newsletter



On February 20 by the decree of the RA President Serge Sargsian Vahram Baghdasarian
and Stepan Zakarian were appointed as members of the Council of Public TV and
Radio company for 6 years of service.

As it has been reported, the competition for filling in vacancies in PTRC Council
was announced due to the term of expiration of two Council members. As the competition
jury announced, 21 applications had been received (see YPC Weekly Newsletter,
February 6-12, 2009 and
January 23-29, 2009). According to the broadcast legislation,
Armenian citizens, who are reputed and competent professionals in journalism,
law, TV and radio management, science, culture and arts, have higher education
and are fluent in Armenian language, can take part in the competition. The following
individuals are ineligible for the position of PTRC Council member: members
of governing bodies of political parties; foreign citizens and people with no
citizenships; heads of public and private TV and radio companies; individuals
having contractual relations with TV and radio companies.

The newly appointed member of PTRC Council Stepan Zakarian worked in a number
of Armenian media, also at managerial positions. In 1995-1996 he was the Director
of the State Radio Company of Armenia, in 1999-2007 he held a seat at the RA
National Assembly. The other appointee is Vahram Baghdasarian, who holds two
doctoral degrees, in technical sciences and economics, heads the chair of IT
and applied sciences at Vanadzor Pedagogical Institute. In 1995-2007 he was
a deputy of the RA National Assembly.

All the biographical data above were taken by us from the web site of the parliament.
Besides, as we found out, Vahram Baghdasarian is known in his native town, Vanadzor,
also as a businessman and the owner of “VaBa” TV company that recently changed
its name to “9th Channel”.

Article 31 of the RA Law “On Television and Radio” contains, in particular,
the following demand: “The President of Republic of Armenia, in accordance with
the procedure for the competition previously ratified appoints one of the competition
winners to be a member of the Council (of Public TV and Radio Company – Ed.
Note). The information about it – with due justification – is published in media.”
Meanwhile, in the report about the appointment of the abovementioned PTRC Council
members by the RA President no “due justification” was presented. It remains
unclear what the choice of the winners among 21 applicants was based on.

On the day when the decree on appointing the members of the PTRC Council was
released, President Serge Sargsian met the Chairman of the National Commission
on Television and Radio (see the report above “RA President Concerned with the
Quality of TV and Radio Programs”) – the body that regulated broadcasting. At
the meeting the need to improve the quality of TV and radio programs was stressed.
The President also commissioned the head of the NCTR to develop a format for
the public to be able to influence “the content of the TV and Radio companies”.

These initiatives can only be welcome. But will our TV picture become better
if we keep wanting what is better and keep doing what we always do – ignore
the letter of the law and avoid transparency?