The international non-governmental organization Article 19 has disseminated a Memorandum analyzing the recently enforced RA Law “On Television and Radio”.
The Memorandum includes a number of recommendations on amendments to the Armenian broadcasting Law. In particular, it is mentioned that RA Law “On Television and Radio” does not ensure the independence of the governing bodies regulating the public and private broadcasting – the Council of Public Television and Radio, and the National Commission on Television and Radio. The unacceptability of the provision of the Law, according to which the President of the country should solely appoint the members of these bodies, is emphasized.
As to the content of the programs of local broadcasters, the Memorandum mentions that the RA Law “On Television and Radio” does not include stimuli for the increase of the volume of European production broadcasting as it is stipulated by the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. Along with this, the requirements to the volume of locally produced programs are unreasonably high (according to the Law, the local production of each private TV or radio company cannot be less than 65% of the overall airtime, and for the Public Television and Public Radio – 2/3 of the overall airtime).
The listing of programs, that are prohibited for broadcasting on TV and radio, in the Law, according to the experts of Article 19, is mostly unnecessary, as these prohibitions are already covered in laws of general application, in particular, the criminal law.
When fixing the volume for minority language programs, the Armenian broadcasting Law should reflect the minimum, rather than the maximum quota.
In general, as it is stated in the Memorandum, the adopted RA Law “On Television and Radio” in a number of its provisions does not take into account the modern European and international standards as well as the appropriate obligations, of which Armenia is a party.