On February 15 the National Commission on Television and Radio addressed the RA Commercial Court with a suit versus “Hayrenik TV”, obliging the TV company to pay the fine, YPC was told by NCTR. NCTR clarified that the start of a litigation is explained by the expiration of the deadline legally stipulated for the fine payment. As it has been reported, NCTR had penalized “Hayrenik TV” on January 18 for the re-broadcasting of programs by French “Mezzo” TV channel and demonstration of unlicensed films. This decision of the National Commission caused a broad negative response of the press (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 28 – February 3, 2005).
“Aravot” daily of February 15 quoted the response of “Hayrenik TV” owner, the President of “Grand Holding” company Hrant Vardanian to the NCTR intention of claiming the fine through the court. Hrant Vardanian said that he would make a decision after he met and discussed some issues with the Chairman of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company Alexan Harutiunian, who, as Vardanian put it, is the supervisor of Grigor Amalian, the NCTR Chairman. In replay to this, Alexan Harutiunian in his interview to “Aravot” of February 16 advises Hrant Vardanian to meet “some of the junior legal staff of NCTR” and to clarify all the issues. Besides, Alexan Harutiunian stressed that the activities of the public and private broadcasters is regulated by different bodies.
According to the communication of “Arminfo” news agency of February 15, the owner of “Hayrenik TV” announced that he was not going to be “a victim of bribery”, would not follow Grigor Amalian’s will and would not pay the penalty. The well-known businessman is even ready to shut down “Hayrenik TV” should the need arise, but he will not stop the rebroadcast of “Mezzo” TV channel that has no claims in this regard. Hrant Vardanian told the correspondent of “Arminfo” that the head of NCTR personally controls the sale of the right to demonstrated licensed films and for this reason he is lobbying his own economic interests, inducing the TV channels to refuse the rebroadcasts of foreign programs. “Amalian had better control the implementation of the requirements of the adverting law, which is violated by the TV channels day in and day out”, Hrant Vardanian stressed.
As to the active advertising of strong alcoholic drinks, in particular, the vodka, on the Armenian TV air, as the head of NCTR said at a press-conference of February 14, the National Commission is not always able to impose sanctions on the broadcasters due to the imperfection of the RA Law “On Advertising”. While the Law prohibits the advertising of strong alcoholic drinks, with the exception of brandy, and of tobacco products in the broadcast media, it does not, however, restrict the indirect advertising of the production.
It should be noted that this point refers to the advertising of brands. Due to this we propose the readers to make a small test for themselves. If you see on TV an outline of a bottle with a name of popular Russian vodka, “Russkiy Razmer”, or a small glass of colorless liquid accompanied with a snack of sprat with a toast of “To Nemiroff all around the World”, how long will it take you to understand what is being advertised?