STATEMENT

21 December, 2018, Yerevan

On 19 December, the Television and Radio Commission made a statement expressing
concerns about certain phenomena in the TV programmes “Epikentron” and
“Andradarz” aired by Kentron TV. In particular, TVRC was concerned that rather than
fulfilling its obligation to ensure plurality of public interests, imparting ideas and opinions,
as well as freely circulating objective information, the mass media outlet targeted one of
the political forces, resorting to “the rich weaponry of propaganda and manipulation”
against it. According to the TVRC, the aforesaid practices undermine the very essence
of editorial independence revealing “the interference and direction of one political force
and the leader thereof”. Therefore, the Commission called on Kentron TV not to become
a platform for the propaganda of one political party.
We, the undersigned journalistic organisations, sharing in principle these concerns,
state at the same time that the problems indicated by the TVRC are not new, are typical
of the broadcasting sector and by levelling charges at one TV company, the
Commission itself clearly manifests biased and discriminatory attitude. It should be
noted that the relations and the situation developed in this sector are first and foremost
conditioned by the actions of the TVRC as a regulatory body. It is due to the
Commission’s policy that many TV companies came under total control of the oligarchic
circles merged with them or the power of the day. Therefore, these mass media outlets
have for long served the political objectives of their owners rather than the public
interest.
For many years both the previous authorities and the Commission formed by them
consistently ignored breaches of law committed by TV companies, including many
reports by the journalistic community on the failure by them to comply with the licence
requirements. Notwithstanding the changes in the country, many shortcomings in the
broadcasting sector are not yet resolved. This is confirmed also by the monitoring of the
coverage of electoral and post-electoral processes by a number of national, capital-
based and regional television channels in the weeks preceding and succeeding the
elections.
We are convinced that the problems and the charges reflected in the TVRC statement,
especially if they, as indicated in the statement, are based on the data detected by
TVRC’s monitoring, rather than becoming an object of a statement or calls must have
resulted in the exercise by the TRC of the powers conferred on it by law, i.e. starting
proceedings, and in case the breaches were confirmed, sanctioning by warning, fining,
etc. Otherwise, it appears that the TVRC fails to carry out the mission conferred on it by
law, instead applying selected approaches to one selected broadcaster.
Considering the aforementioned, we demand that the TRC abandons any steps dictated
by political opportunism and starts a process of reforms directed at the improvement of
the broadcasting sector.

 

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ “ASPAREZ” CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB

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