On April 14 the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed the report (co-rapporteurs – John Prescott and Axel Fischer) on honoring of obligations and commitments by Armenia. The document was developed on the fact-finding visit of the co-rapporteurs to Yerevan on March 16-17, 2011.
Two provisions of the Monitoring Committee report regard the broadcast sphere.
Point 22 notes that the bid of “A1+” TV company, participating in the digital broadcast licensing competitions, was – once again – rejected. While not wishing to comment on the merits of the respective decision of the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR), especially since it is still sub judice, the co-rapporteurs stressed that “the pluralism criterion has not been sufficiently taken into account by the licensing authority when making its decision”. As a result, the tendering process did not lead to a more pluralist media environment, which was one of the PACE recommendations. “This matter should be urgently addressed by the authorities”, the report stresses.
Point 23 emphasizes that one of the key problems with regard to the broadcast regulatory and licensing framework is the composition of the National Commission on Television and Radio. While the recently amended legislation strives to ensure the independence of the individual members, it does not require that the NCTR in its entirety is truly representative or reflects the different views that exist in the Armenian society. It is clear that the current formula for the composition of the NCTR – 50% nominated by the President of the Republic and 50% by the parliament (in which the ruling coalition has a comfortable majority) – does not lead to a heterogeneous and impartial composition from a political point of view. “This shortcoming should be remedied”, the report of the PACE Monitoring Committee mentions.
The report on honoring of obligations and commitments by Armenia will be presented to the PACE September session.