The decision of the National Commission evoked huge negative reaction among the public, and was considered a violation of freedom of expression and viewers’ rights. A number of viewers, members of political parties and journalists organized a demonstration of support to “A1+” by marching first to the parliament building and then to the Liberty Square. Some of them even started a sit-in strike, insisting that they shouldn’t be deprived of watching what they want.
Later, “A1+” TV company submitted a claim against the National Commission of Television and Radio to the Economic Court of Armenia, substantiating that the Commission had broken a number of provisions of the Law on Television and Radio. One of the main statements was that the Commission was supposed to announce one general competition for all the free frequency ranges. Instead, they carried out separate competitions for each of the frequencies. Apart from that, while selecting the licensees, the National Commission established its own mandatory requirements. However, the conditions of selection are defined in the law in an extremely clear-cut way, the only requirements being the prevalence of self-production, prevalence of national production, technical and financial resources of the applicant, and the professional standards of the staff. Thus, the Commission has infringed the articles 48, 50 and 52 of the Armenian Law on Television and Radio.
The trial was appointed on April 16. However, the judge claimed that the plaintiff needed 3 days for getting acquainted with “the response to the claim,” postponing the trial for a week. The last session of the trial took place on April 25 when the case of “A1+” was dismissed by the Economic court. The representatives of the TV company announced they would appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal, stating that they were ready to apply to the European Court as well.
Meanwhile, the staff of the TV company keeps working by contributing news stories to the regional television network “Hamaspyur” and running a web site. All the information about the course of events can be found on the web site of the company: www.a1plus.am