On April 2 the National Commission on Television and Radio announced the results of the competition for the licenses to broadcast on 21st, 35th, 37th and 44th UHFs of Yerevan (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 16-22, 2002).
The competition for the 21st frequency applied for only by “Hayrenik TV” company ended quite unexpectedly. The tender was annulled, since, in the opinion of the jury, the broadcast concept presented by the applicant did not meet the requirements put forth. “Hayrenik” has a right to continue going on air until a new competition is announced for the frequency.
Out of three applicants for the 35th frequency, “Noyan Tapan”, “Shoghakat” and “Yan TV” companies, the Commission gave the highest scores to “Shoghakat” TV company, patroned by Holy Echmiadzin.
The former “owner” of the 44th frequency, “Avetis” TV company, had to concede the channel to “Shark” company.
The competition for the 37th frequency, claimed by its “owner”, “A1+” TV station, and “Sharm” and “Dauphin TV” companies, was won by “Sharm” with a significant difference in scores.
On April 2, “A1+” represented by its founder “Meltex” LLC addressed an appeal to the RA Commercial Court, requesting to prohibit the National Commission to stop the broadcasts of “A1+” until a decision on the suit previously filed by “Meltex” (see above) is made and as a measure to ensure the suit.
On April 3 the RA Commercial Court declined the request of “Meltex” with the reasoning that the mandate of the National Commission on Television and Radio does not include the stoppage of the air of TV companies, and the claims presented are groundless.
The situation once more proves the imperfection of the broadcast law. Neither the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, adopted in October 2000, nor the charter of the National Commission stipulate a precise procedure of stopping the air of a broadcaster if it is refused a license.
At 22.30 on April 2 “A1+” TV company received a written notification from “Television Network of Armenia” SCJSC, informing that the broadcasts of the company will be stopped at midnight following the directions in the letter signed by the Chairman of the National Commission on Television and Radio Grigor Amalian. Having said good-bye to the viewers at 24.00, “A1+” announced its programs could still be seen on AATV cable network. Yet in 12 minutes AATV stopped broadcasting “A1+”. According to the Director of “A1+” Mesrop Movsesian, by doing this AATV violated the contract provisions and “A1+” considers the possibility of suing the cable company.
There is an opinion that the haste with which AATV CJSC switched “A1+” out from air may be explained by the pressure exerted “from above”. Notably, in early September 2001 the National Commission on Television and Radio refused re-licensing AATV as previously this company, transmitting programs of various TV channels, was awarded a license for the construction and servicing of air and cable systems only, and not for broadcasting (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 1-7, 2001). Meanwhile, AATV continues operating.
Today the only channel for “A1+” to disseminate news is the web site of the company, and the number of its visits has increased drastically during the past few days. The newscast “Ayb-Feh”, working on-line, still catches attention.