At the extraordinary session of December 28 the National Assembly of Armenia finally adopted in the first and second hearings the RA Law “On the Charter of the National Commission on Television and Radio”.
The adopted document included the 14 suggestions, developed by Internews Armenia NGO and a number of independent broadcasters, aiming at establishing favorable climate for the development of private broadcasting in the country. In particular, the suggestions incorporated by the draft envisaged: postponing the deadline for the introduction of high technical standards till January 1, 2005, considering the current realities of the development of the broadcasting field and aiming at protecting the private TV and radio companies from possible administrative sanctions due to the imperfection of the equipment; reduce the list of reasons for the license termination, etc. Also, several provisions, which might lead to ungrounded sanctions imposed in future on the private broadcasters by the National Commission, were clarified.
Notably, the process of the adoption of the Law on Charter was associated with certain problems. While the National Commission, at the stage of draft development, took into consideration all 28 legal corrections made by Internews, the 14 suggestions above were rejected, and, therefore, were subject to discussion with the appropriate Parliamentary Committee. Yet, the presidential decree on the summon of the NA extraordinary session meant, that the Charter was running the risk of hasty adoption, in the course of the pre-New Year state budget debates, and the observations made would not receive due attention. Owing to the successful lobbying on behalf of Internews and the heads of several private TV companies, on December 27, the specialized Parliamentary Committee held another discussion of the draft, and all 14 suggestions were included into the final text of the Charter to be reviewed by the Parliament.