On December 15 Partnership for Open Society initiative (unites over 60 public
organizations) disseminated an open address to the members of National Commission
on Television and Radio, calling on them to “display civil will” and “simultaneously
resign” after the adoption of amendments to the RA Law “On Television and Radio”.
This appeal is motivated by the fact that after the amendments to Armenian
Constitution were adopted at a referendum on November 27, 2005, the procedure
for forming the regulatory body for broadcasting has been changed: half of its
members is elected by the RA National Assembly for six years’ term of service,
and the other half is appointed by the President of the country for the same
term (Article 83.2 of the RA Constitution). Along with this, according to the
transitional provisions of the Constitution, the acting members of the regulating
body continue to hold their positions until their terms of service expire, as
stipulated by the RA Law “On Television and Radio”. In case of the expiration
or early stoppage of their competence the vacancies are filled in by the National
Assembly and the President alternately. Thus, due to differing terms of service
of the incumbent members of the National Commission on Television and Radio,
the address of the Partnership says, it will take about 6 years to achieve the
proportion of 50/50, defined by the Constitution. The most optimal solution
under the circumstances, in the opinion of the Partnership, will be the voluntary
resignation of all NCTR members, enabling the Parliament and the President to
shape the new regulatory body in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.
On December 19 in an interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian
Service NCTR Chairman Grigor Amalian noted that the he “simply took notice”
of the address of the Partnership.
Unfortunately, this is not the first case when the response of Mr. Amalian
to appeals to NCTR, similarly to his understanding of his own functions, is
inadequate. Public organizations addressed the NCTR Chairman with a request
to circulate the letter among the National Commission members and not to have
“notice taken or not taken” of it. Can it be that Mr. Amalian thinks himself
entitled to decide for all NCTR members?