YPC Weekly Newsletter

2002


THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TELEVISION AND RADIO VIOLATES THE PROCEDURE OF BROADCAST LICENSING COMPETITION, DEFINED BY ITSELF

On November 11 "Noyan Tapan" TV company issued a statement, saying that National Commission on Television and Radio did not accept the bid of the company to participate in the broadcast licensing competition announced on October 15 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 12-18, 2002). The refusal of the Commission was substantiated by the fact that the bid did not specify the frequency claimed by the TV company. The Commission also failed to issue an appropriate receipt to "Noyan Tapan" where the lacking data of the application package were to be mentioned and opportunity to fill the omissions in within 10 days was to be given. By doing this, the Commission violated Items 10 and 11 of the Procedure for holding broadcast-licensing competitions. Besides, the demand to specify the frequency in the bid is incongruent with Article 49 of the RA Law "On Television and Radio", where the data to be presented in the application are defined, but no mentioning of the frequency specification is made.

In its statement "Noyan Tapan" TV company called on all the human rights organizations, journalistic associations, political parties, deputies of the National Assembly to thoroughly study the incident, asses it impartially and join in the protection of the rule of law.

On the same day Yerevan Press Club and Journalists Union of Armenia voiced their support of "Noyan Tapan". The joint statement of YPC and JUA reads:

"On November 8 the National Commission on Television and Radio refused to accept the bid of "Noyan Tapan" TV company to participate in the broadcast licensing competition announced by the National Commission on October 15, 2002. By doing this, the National Commission on Television and Radio violated the procedure for holding licensing competitions, established by itself.

We demand to annul the decision on refusing to accept the bid of "Noyan Tapan" and restore the legitimate right of the TV company to participate in the competition."

A number of political parties and journalistic associations of the country also made statements to protect "Noyan Tapan".

On November 15 "Noyan Tapan" filed a suit with the RA Commercial Court versus the National Commission on Television and Radio. To secure the suit a petition was also submitted, requesting to suspend the competition proceedings until the court decision is enforced. This is due to the circumstance that even if the court considers the suit of "Noyan Tapan" within the shortest period possible, the decision will only come into force 15 days after it is passed. Yet, the applications for the competition will be reviewed by the National Commission on November 19 and 20. 

Meanwhile, on November 8 the deadline for bid submission for the broadcast licensing competition expired.

"A1+" TV company presented by its founder "Meltex" LLC applied for three UHFs in Yerevan – the 27th, 31st, 39th, 51st. Each of these frequencies is also claimed by the TV companies, which broadcast on them currently: "Dar 21" (rebroadcasting Russian MuzTV channel), "ARMENAKOB", "TV 5" (rebroadcasting Russian MTV channel) and "Yerevan", respectively. The 58th UHF in Yerevan is only claimed by "EV" TV company that presently rebroadcasts CNN on this frequency.

The current "owners" of the UHFs in the cities of Abovian (Kotayk region) and Kajaran (Syunik region) turned out to have no competitors, either. The 24th and 26th frequencies of Abovian were applied for by "Abovian" and "Lanj" TV companies, respectively. The 40th frequency of Kajaran is claimed by "Arats" LLC, the founder of "Kapuyt Jugh" TV company.

The only applicant for 28th UHF of Gyumri (Shirak region) is "Sirius Plus" LLC. It should be noted here that "Shant" TV company, which currently occupies this frequency but does not broadcast on it, did not take part in the competition, its programs are aired on a VHF in Gyumri. As it has been reported, "Shant" previously was licensed to broadcast of 41st UHF of Yerevan (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 6-12, 2002).

The 22nd UHF of Gavar (Gegharkunik region) remained unclaimed.

Finally, the right to broadcast on FM 105.5 are claimed by its current "owner", radio "Hai FM 105.5", as well as "Antenna" NGO.