On September 8 the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (co-rapporteurs John Prescott and Axel Fischer) adopted the Provisional Version of the Resolution “The Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Armenia”.
Point 10 of the Draft Resolution deals with broadcast domain. PACE considers that a genuinely pluralist media environment is an essential condition for the democratic development of Armenia. By welcoming the amended RA Law “On Television and Radio”, which is an improvement over previous legislation, PACE reiterates its call to the Armenian authorities to ensure a pluralist media environment also in practice.
In December 2010 the broadcast licensing competitions were held in Armenia, which were followed by the CoE Committee of Ministers Resolution on closing the examination of the case of “A1+” founder, “Meltex” LLC, against Republic of Armenia on the grounds that the competitions were transparent (Sub-point 10.1 of the Draft Resolution). In this regard PACE believes that the outcome of the licensing tender has not resulted in a more pluralist media environment and therefore considers that the outcome of this tender is not in line with the demands of the Assembly (Sub-point 10.2).
PACE reminds that amendments should be made to the Broadcast Law in order to ensure that the composition of the National Commission on Television and Radio, as well as the Council of the Public Television and Radio, truly reflect and are representative of Armenian society (Sub-point 10.3). The Resolution Draft also contains a call to Armenian authorities to introduce the legal obligation that licensing decisions of the NCTR should be guided by and reflect the need to increase the pluralism and diversity of the media environment in Armenia (Sub-point 10.4). A substantially lower barrier for interested groups to enter the media market is an important mechanism for this. Given the potential of digital broadcasting to increase the number of broadcasting licenses available, the Assembly considers that the authorities should hold, when feasible, a new broadcasting license tender with the explicit aim of increasing the pluralism and diversity of the media environment in Armenia (Sub-point 10.5).
The Monitoring Committee’s Draft Resolution, “The Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Armenia”, will be considered at the plenary session of PACE on October 3-7, 2011.