NGO AND MEDIA DISCUSSED REGIONAL PROBLEMS
On May 11-12 in Tsaghkadzor a seminar “The Role of NGOs and Media of Armenia in the Settlement of Regional Problems”, organized by Yerevan Press Club with the assistance of the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The representatives of media and NGOs of Armenia discussed a range of subjects related to the transformations in South Caucasus during the past decade, in particular – political negotiations and the contacts of civil structures in the region, the perceptions of the society about the relations between Armenia and its neighbor countries, the coverage of the regional problems in the media of South Caucasus, the programs of regional cooperation and overcoming the existing problems, the cooperation of media and NGOs in South Caucasus.
THE COURT REJECTED THE SUIT OF “A1+” FOUNDER VERSUS “TELEVISION NETWORK OF ARMENIA”
On May 17, at the very first session, the RA Commercial Court rejected the suit of the “A1+” TV company founder, “Meltex” LLC, versus “Television Network of Armenia” SCJSC. As it has been reported, the plaintiff claimed that the decision of “Television Network of Armenia” of stopping the broadcasts of “A1+” passed on April 2 be annulled (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 4-10, 2002).
THE COURT REFUSED SECURING THE SUIT OF “NOYAN TAPAN” VERSUS THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TELEVISION AND RADIO
On May 17, at the session of the RA Commercial Court the hearing of the suit of “Noyan Tapan” LLC versus the National Commission on Television and Radio was postponed at the plaintiff’s request. “Noyan Tapan” had filed a suit with the court demanding to revoke the results of the broadcast licensing competition announced by the National Commission on April 2 (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 27 – May 3, 2002).
At the session of May 24 the Commercial Court rejected the suit of “Noyan Tapan”. The substantiation of the court decision will be provided within seven days
ANOTHER PROTEST VOICED AGAINST THE DECISIONS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TELEVISION AND RADIO
On May 15 the Chairman of the Public Council on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Ashot Bleyan addressed the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan demanding to recognize the decisions of the National Commission on Television and Radio of April 2, 2002 to be incompliant with the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, the RA Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As it has been reported, as a result of the broadcast licensing competitions on April 2, 2002, “A1+” and “Noyan Tapan” TV companies were refused licenses (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 30 – April 5, 2002). The decisions passed by the National Commission are qualified by Ashot Bleyan as a violation of the inseparable right of the plaintiff to the freedom of speech, belief and information. Nine more individuals joined the claim.
On May 22 the court accepted the claim for consideration.
GROUP AGO DISCUSSED THE PROBLEM OF “A1+” WITH THE RA PRESIDENT
On May 15 the representatives of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in charge of monitoring the adherence of Armenia to its commitments to CE (Group Ago) made an official visit to Armenia. As the head of the Group Pietro Ercole Ago reported at a press conference on May 16, in the course of the meetings with the higher administration of the country the situation with “A1+” TV company was also discussed. Mr. Ago noted in particular that depriving “A1+” of its air somewhat limited the opportunities of the opposition to convey their point of view to the public. According to him, during the meeting with the RA President Robert Kocharian an agreement has been reached that when another broadcast licensing competition is held, “A1+” will be able to have unrestricted participation in it.
ROBERT KOCHARIAN VIEWS THE TITLE OF “ENEMY OF PRESS” WITH HUMOR
On May 10, upon his return from a trip to the countries of Latin America, RA President Robert Kocharian in his conversation with journalists commented on the National Press Club awarding him “Enemy of Press” title (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 27 – May 3, 2002).
The President said that he treats the title with humor since he does not believe that there are presidents who communicate with media more often than he does. At the same time he expressed his regret that currently journalists are becoming a tool for political forces and lose their face. “Today they do not exist for me as journalists”, Robert Kocharian stressed.
The RA Prime Minister Andranik Margarian gave a similar response to the award, announcing he did not take it seriously.
BROADCAST LICENSING COMPETITIONS RE-ANNOUNCED
On May 17 the National Commission on Television and Radio re-announced competitions for licenses to broadcast on FM 106 of Yerevan, 21st UHF of Yerevan and 32nd UHF of Vanadzor (Lori region). The competitions held previously for these frequencies were canceled since the broadcast concepts introduced by the applicants did not meet the requirements specified (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 23-29, March 30 – April 5 and April 6-12, 2002). So far the frequencies above are occupied by “Tospa” radio station, “Hairenik TV” and “Interkap” TV company, respectively.
IREX/PROMEDIA ARMENIA NAMES THE WINNERS OF THE COMPETITION FOR THE BEST PUBLICATION-2001
On May 11 in Yerevan the ceremony of awarding the winners of the competition for the best article of 2001 was held. The competition was organized by IREX/ProMedia Armenia in 8 nominations among the journalists of Armenian print media. A total of 29 publications were awarded. Their authors, representatives of various media, received first, second and third monetary prizes.
The following were recognized the best in each of the nominations:
“Political Analysis and Commentary” nomination – David Petrosian (for the article “Armenians and Chechens: the Past and the Present”, “Noyan Tapan” news agency);
“Culture of Peace” nomination – Julia Hakobian (“The Frontiers of the War – the Former Prisoners of War Tortured by Nightmares”, “Armenia Week” electronic newsletter);
“Gender” nomination – Liana Stepanian (“Purely Feminine Murder”, “Respublika Armenia” newspaper);
“Economic Issues” nomination – Edward Naghdalian (“The Specific of the National Tender”, ”Delovoy Express” weekly);
“Ecology” nomination – Arthur Hovhannisian (“The Lake Growing Shallow and the Sea of Abuse”, “Yerkir” weekly);
“Social Issues” nomination – Vahan Ishkhanian (“The Flats Built for Refugees are Sold to Locals”, “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily);
“Legal Issues” nomination – Zhanna Alexanian (“The Death in Poplavok: the Human Rights Representative Thinks the Murder ‘Appalling’”, “Armenia Week”);
“Public Health” nomination – Valeria Zakharian (“Blood Interest”, “Novoye Vremya” newspaper) and Arthur Hovhannisian (“In Search for Blood Number 907”, “Yerkir” weekly).
THE FIRST FIVE ISSUES OF “ORRAN” DAILY DISSEMINATED FREE OF CHARGE
On May 21 “Orran” daily was issued. The founder and the publisher of the newspaper is “Locus Standi” LLC. The Chief Editor is Aydin Morikian. Volume is 8/A3 pp. The price of the daily is 50 drams (about 9 USA cents). Yet, the first five issues of the 5,000 print run will be delivered to the subscribers of the press dissemination agencies free of charge. According to the editorial staff, in this way the reader will be able to get familiar with the new edition and make his choice.
“ALM” TV COMPANY GOES ON AIR
On May 11 the presentation and the pilot broadcast of “ALM” TV company took place. “ALM” TV company, along with the homonymous weekly issued since April 2002, is part of “ALM-Holding”, the owner of which, the well-known entrepreneur Tigran Karapetian, is in charge of both media. As it has already been reported, “ALM-Holding” won a licensing competition to broadcast on the 10th VHF in Yerevan and a package of UHFs in a number of Armenian cities.
RA President Robert Kocharian attended the presentation of the new TV channel. According to the “ALM” management, the TV company will start its permanent broadcasts in late May.
FOUNDATION OF ASSISTANCE TO FREEDOM Of SPEECH ESTABLISHED
Foundation of Assistance to Freedom of Speech was established. The organization is aimed at helping the independent journalists and media financially. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees which includes lawyers, human rights activists and journalists, known in Armenia. The Chairman of the Board is the Chief Editor of “Taregir” online daily Vasak Darbinian. The Executive Director of the Foundation is the human rights activist Vardan Harutiunian. According to the initiators of the Foundation, it will primarily assist “A1+” and “Noyan Tapan” TV companies, who did not receive licenses to broadcast.
RADIO NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED
“Antenna” NGO started publishing Radio Newsletter on the issues of radio broadcasting in Armenia. The publication of the newsletter is made with the assistance of the USAID and “World Learning/NGO Strengthening Program. The first issue of the edition features the chronology of the development of radio broadcasting in Armenia, results of radio broadcast competitions, an interview with the Director of “Ardzagank” radio station Eghishe Petrosian, etc.