On October 6 at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, being held in Strasbourg, the Written Declaration No. 457 was presented. The document, demanding to modify the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, has been prepared by the “Heritage” party of Armenia.
The declaration mainly notes that the RA Law “On Television and Radio” impedes pluralism in the media and limits the freedom of information. The amendments, made to the Broadcast Law and adopted by RA National Assembly on June 10, 2010 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 11-17, 2010), “only expand state control over television and radio broadcasting”. “Opposition parties, the Assembly Monitoring Committee’s co-rapporteurs on Armenia and the OSCE clearly criticized the aforementioned changes”, the declaration emphasizes. In the document the amendments to the Broadcast Law are considered to be obstructing the June 17, 2008 decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of “A1+” TV company. Thus, they are aimed at limiting and reducing the number of television stations, and restricting the broadcast airwaves for new TV companies. The changes will result in further abuse of this Law, specifically including: an unclearly defined licensing system for broadcasting via satellite, mobile and Internet; the imposition of restrictive licensing requirements; granting courts sweeping powers over broadcasting licenses and unjustified limitations on media freedom.
In the end the Declaration demands the Armenian authorities to modify the Broadcast Law within a reasonable time-frame, in conformity with international standards and that the opposition is allowed to participate in the process.
As of October 6, the document is signed by 34 PACE deputies; the collection of signatures continues. The PACE plenary session ends on October 8.