On December 2 RA Human Rights Defender Armen Harutiunian released two statements. The statements deal with the results of the broadcast licensing competitions in the digital network, which will be announced on December 16 and December 23. As it has been reported, the competitions, announced by the National Commission on Television and Radio on July 2010, are held in Armenia for the first time and are stipulated by the digital switchover from analogue broadcasting (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 22-28, 2010).
In one of the statements the ombudsman urges the members of the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) “to manifest neutrality and transparency, to be guided by the principles of law, impartiality and fairness”, while determining the competition winners. Given that the competition results will directly “influence the level of protection of human rights in the field of information”, Armen Harutiunian expressed his readiness to consider within his competence the corresponding complaints – both ahead and after the competitions results are summed up.
In the other statement the Human Rights Defender addressed to the NCTR Chairman Grigor Amalian demanding to find an opportunity for those TV companies, who will not receive a license, to continue broadcasting within a certain period – since the day of announcing the competition results until the new licenses take effect. According to Armen Harutiunian, this will allow the TV companies, who have lost the competitions, to fulfill their current contractual commitments and ensure the smooth cut-off of the air.