Assistance to Improvement of Laws, Regulating Media Activities

Recently the National Assembly of Armenia adopted a law on the Charter of the National Commission on Television and Radio. This commission regulates electronic media and is responsible for granting frequency licenses to broadcasters.

Internews’ lawyer had been working on the draft charter of the National Commission since November 2001, making a number of legal suggestions and remarks that were extremely important from the perspective of freedom of expression and the development of private broadcasting. Since this time, 14 suggestions made by Internews were accepted by the legislators and passed by parliament on December 28, 2001.

The amendments were favourable to private broadcasters and included the following:

a. Postponing the implementation of extremely high technical standards until January 1, 2005, which will protect private TV and radio stations from administrative sanctions.

b. Protecting broadcasters from unreasonable actions possibly taken by the National Commission in the future.

c. Canceling a number of conditions for revoking the broadcast license.

The newly confirmed charter will create a better environment for regulating independent broadcasting, as well as contribute to the development of the private broadcasting sector.