On February 7 and 10 Levon Barseghian, the Board Chairman of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club of Gyumri, addressed letters to Grigor Amalian, Chairman of the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR), informing about the legislation violations by the First Channel of the Public Television of Armenia on the air of January 14 and 15, 2011. The reason for inquiring NCTR, the broadcast regulatory body, was the monitoring results of the PTA First Channel, administered by “Asparez” on the abovementioned days. The letters were attended by detailed tables on the monitoring findings.
Levon Barseghian, particularly, noted that on the days studied commercial advertising on the air of PTA First Channel exceeded the legislative limits. Thus, on January 14 in TV programs of overall duration of 18 hours 1 minute and 56 seconds (since 07:51:14 till 01:47:10) the advertising made 1 hour 39 minutes and 29 seconds, or the 9.2% of the total airtime; whereas, on January 15 in TV programs of overall duration of 18 hours 33 minutes 24 seconds (since 07:49:09 till 02:22:33) -1 hour 32 minutes 42 seconds, or 8.3%. Hence, in both cases the provision of the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, defining a 7% restriction on the advertising volume for the total airtime, was violated: the limit was exceeded by 31.2% and 19% of the permissible maximum, respectively. Besides, several programs were interrupted by advertising blocs and/or sponsor references more often than authorized by Point 2 of Article 9 of the RA Law “On Advertising” (a TV program can be interrupted by an advertisement only every 20 minutes).
In the letters to the NCTR “Asparez” head demanded to consider the presented findings, call the lawbreakers to account, as well as to inform about the measures taken. The copies of the letters were sent to the Chairman of the Council of the Public TV and Radio Company Alexan Harutiunian and the Head of RA President’s Control Service Hovhannes Hovsepian.
This is not the first communication of “Asparez”: on January 10 and 14, 2011 similar letters were sent to the NCTR, informing on the legislation violations by the PTA First Channel on the air of December 31, 2010 and January 1, 2011 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 10-20, 2011). So far, the NCTR Chairman has replied to “Asparez” that the issues raised demand a thorough examination.