The first VHF channel, on which ORT used to broadcast in Armenia and from which the rebroadcast of the programs of this company was transferred to the 39th UHF, has become a subject for not only commercial, but also political intrigues.
Thus, in response to the obstinately disseminated rumors and information published in the press maintaining that Hrant Vardanian, the head of “Grand Tobacco” company, intends to acquire either the currently vacant frequency or the rights for rebroadcasting ORT, the latter was compelled to give an official refutation. In his declaration the well-known entrepreneur, who enjoys the confidence of the active authorities, advised to look for the authors of this information among the future purchasers of the first VHF channel. Hrant Vardanian himself, as he announced, has undertaken the creation of a TV company named “Hairenik” (“Motherland”) that will broadcast on UHF and will promote the principle of “Let us work!”
Meanwhile, the names of the candidates for the first VHF channel are not known yet. Still, as experts think, according to the newly enforced Law “On Television and Radio”, this frequency must be offered to the new owners only on competitive basis. The rebroadcast of ORT, as informed sources announce, is made by “Urartu” company.
However, on UHF ORT is accessible only by the viewers of Yerevan and its neighboring regions in Ararat Valley. The residents of remote regions, deprived of the possibility to watch ORT programs, openly voice their protests. In particular, during a recent vox pop, featured by Alaverdi “Ankyun+3” TV company, the majority of respondents expressed their indignation at the stop of ORT rebroadcasting, which, in their opinions, was the main window to the outer world. The residents of Alaverdi admit that their choice of TV programs is rather small, and “if there is no ORT, one might as well sell the TV set”.
At the same time, as “Aravot” daily informed on February 1, 2001, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia sent a note to the Embassy of Armenia in Russian Federation which – on the basis of the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Armenia signed on July 1, 1997, on the order and terms of reception and broadcasting of the programs of Russian TV companies – suggests that consultations be held to solve the problems associated with the broadcast of ORT and RTR in Armenia. Besides, the Russian party asked to renew the rebroadcast of ORT programs in Armenia in the complete amount on VHF.
The Public Relations Department of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the receipt of this note. As Yerevan Press Club was informed by the Foreign Office of the country, a copy of this document is sent to appropriate bodies to examine the possible solutions to the problem.