On November 11 at the Journalists Union of Armenia the press-conference of Executive Director of Radio “HAY’ Aram Mkrtchian was held. The reason for the meeting with journalists was the protest of the company against “Republican Telecommunications Center” (RTC) CJSC, which, in the opinion of the head of Radio “HAY”, makes ungrounded demands of payment for a number of services.
According to Aram Mkrtchian, the conflict with RTC started after, in February 2005, Radio “HAY” became the winner of the competition, announced by the National Commission on Television and Radio for a package of 20 FM frequencies in different cities of the country (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 11-17, 2005), and started proceeding with its commitments, listed in the bid for the competition. For the registration and permission to use each transmitter RTC demanded that it pay for “international registration and coordination of frequencies, allocated to terrestrial stations” (300,000 AMD or about $ 650) and for the “choice of frequencies of TV and radio broadcasting stations and assessment of electromagnetic compatibility” (1 million AMD or about $ 2,175). In other words, for the right to use 20 transmitters the radio company had to pay 26 million AMD (about $ 56,520). Radio “HAY” addressed the RA Ministry of Transportation and Communication, to which RTC belongs. The Ministry sent an answer that the payments imposed on the radio company can be reduced only by 300,000 AMD, since the international registration and coordination of frequencies, allocated to terrestrial stations, is already made.
Meanwhile, Aram Mkrtchian believes, RTC must not impose payment on the services above, because it contradicts to the RA Law “On Television and Radio”. Thus, Article 48 of the broadcast law stipulated: “The body of the state telecommunications management, using the list provided by International Telecommunication Union, makes up a list of air frequencies, stipulated for the translation of TV and radio programs on the territory of Republic of Armenia and regularly submits it to the National Commission.” Article 53 stipulates that for “the use of broadcasting frequency the license owner annually pays the air fee defined solely by the expenses necessary to maintain the frequency”.
To fulfill the conditions of license provision, Aram Mkrtchian stressed, Radio “HAY” will continue the installation of its transmitters. The head of the radio station called on all operating broadcasters to demand back the amounts they paid to RTC.
Besides, Aram Mkrtchian noted, in late October 2005 Radio “HAY” filed a complaint on actions of the Republican Telecommunications Center with the law enforcement bodies of Armenia. As YPC was informed by Aram Mkrtchian, the RA General Prosecutor’s Office accepted the statement for further proceedings.