01 February, 2019, Yerevan
On January 31, the Government made a decision to liquidate Gyumri “Shirak public TV-radio” closed joint-stock company. The reasoning is as follows: since October 26, 2016, Armenia passed on to digital broadcasting, and so far “Shirak public TV-radio” has been operating in analogue mode and is not able to ensure aide audience, whereas “to conduct digital broadcasting first of all respective legislative regulation is required and significant financial investment, which is unrealistic at this moment.”
We, the undersigned media organizations, have stated many times that as a result of short-sighted policy by the former authorities in the field of broadcasting, a number of local TV companies have been left outside the digitization process, and happening to be in unfair conditions, i.e. in analogue range, lose their audience every day. This contradicts the internationally accepted approaches to digitization process and practice, according to which the digitization of broadcasting in no way should aggravate the condition of the operating TV companies. As a solution we have recommended legislative changes, which were not accepted then.
Unfortunately, instead of searching for new solutions, the new authorities have decided to follow the easy track, simply closing down “Shirak”. Whereas, taking into consideration the many years of experience and available audience of that TV company, they could have avoided such a hasty decision and could have envisaged a transitional period and given a chance of privatization to the personnel. That would enable “Shirak” to continue its operation, to get engaged in the private multiplexor in future, and under conditions of equal competition decide its own fate.
This decision by the Government is a reason for concern for the future of almost ten private local TV companies operating in analogue mode.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned, we urge the RA Government
- to review the decision of liquidating “Shirak public TV-radio” CJSC in that manner
- to avoid hasty and inconsistent with modern requirements decisions in the field of broadcasting
- to develop a program of radical changes in the field, based on international experience, and taking into consideration the recommendations by specialized media organizations.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
CENTER FOR MEDIA INITIATIVES
JOURNALISTS’ “ASPAREZ” CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER OF ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB