On April 16, at the first session of the RA Commercial Court on the suit of the founder of “A1+” TV company, “Meltex” LLC, versus the National Commission on Television and Radio, the hearing of the case was postponed till April 23. As it has already been reported, on April 1 “Meltex” filed a suit with court demanding that the decisions of the National Commission on holding competitions for licensing TV and radio broadcasting on the vacant and vacated frequencies be annulled. The demand of the plaintiff was grounded on the violation of a number of procedural norms when announcing and holding competitions (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 30 – April 5, 2002).
The judge motivated her decision to postpone the hearings for a week by the fact that the response of the National Commission to the suit of “Meltex” was received by the court the day before the session, on April 15, and was sent to “Meltex” immediately. According to the law, the plaintiff is entitled to three days to study the response. It should also be noted that the plaintiff itself did not request the time to study the response.
On April 18, during a meeting with journalists hosted by the National Press Club, Vahe Gabrielian, the Press Secretary of the RA President, did not comment on the legitimacy of the decisions made by the National Commission on Television and Radio on the competitions for broadcast licensing, as the suit of “A1+” is currently under court consideration. Vahe Gabrielian stressed that although the President appoints the judges, as well as the National Commission members, they are independent in their activities. Nothing threatens the freedom of speech in Armenia, and “the censorship has not existed nor will it ever exist”, the Press Secretary of Robert Kocharian stated.