On July 15 the Municipality of Gyumri addressed the RA Service of Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts demanding to oblige the founder of “GALA” TV company, “CHAP” LLC, to dissemble the equipment from the city TV tower. The ground for this became the July 1, 2011 decision of RA Court of Cassation, which had revoked the complaint of “CHAP” LLC and upheld the decision of the second jurisdiction on the dispute between Gyumri Municipality and “GALA” founder, regarding the right to use the city tower. As it has been reported, in its turn, on April 26, 2011 RA Civil Court of Appeal upheld the February 17, 2011 decision of the court of primary jurisdiction, according to which “GALA” founder was to stop using the city TV tower and to dissemble the equipment installed on it within a month (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 22-28, 2011). The court litigation has been lasting since November 2007. The tax inspection of the “GALA” founder started right after a week, when on October 22, 2007 the owner of “CHAP” LLC Vahan Khachatrian made a statement with regard to the attempts of various power agencies to exert pressure on the TV company (see details in 2007-2009 Yerevan Press Club reports “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” on www.ypc.am in “Media Reports” section).
On July 18 Yerevan Press Club, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Internews Media Support NGO, Media Diversity Institute-Armenia released a statement in which the ruling of the Court of Cassation is considered as a logical continuation of the campaign versus “GALA”, initiated by various power agencies in 2007 and, in fact, directed against freedom of speech. It takes note that this ruling was rendered after the Resolution of the CoE Committee of Ministers of June 8, 2011 on execution of the June 17, 2008 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of “Meltex” LLC, “A1+” TV founder, versus Republic of Armenia. The decision of the international institution on closure of the examination of the “A1+” case, “actually, freed the hands of the Armenian authorities in order to shut the mouths of the other unwanted media, like ‘GALA’”, the statement stressed. The journalistic organizations announced that they will continue to support the Gyumri TV company and called the authorities “to refrain from infringements upon freedom of speech and pluralism, specifically in the eve of the upcoming national elections when establishing a favorable environment in the media field is of extreme importance”.