On November 23, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression with the assistance of the Open Society Foundations – Armenia organized a roundtable on the Challenges for Armenian Regional TV Broadcasters in the Light of Recent Transition to Digital TV Broadcasting. The urgency of this discussion was created by the fact that the termination of analogue TV broadcasting during the week of October 20-26 by the national TV channels led to a situation where 11 regional and local TV broadcasters rapidly lost most of their audience and advertisers and appeared on the thin edge of bankruptcy.
Last week, on November 3, 2016, the heads of six Armenian regional TV companies addressed an open letter to the RA President, Chairman of the RA National Assembly and RA Prime Minister, which noted that after the analogue broadcasting switch-off in the country (Ed. Note: from October 26, 2016) they were deprived of audience and found themselves on the brink of closing down. Overall, 11 regional TV companies met this fate.
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression held a public discussion on October 18 entitled “Transition to Digital Television: Challenges, Problems and Possible Solutions”.
In his opening remarks, the chair of CPFE Ashot Melikyan said the process of switching off analog transmission ends on October 20. According to him, though technically Armenia is ready for digital transmission, some legislative, possibly also social issues have not been resolved.
Four cases of threats and obstruction of legitimate professional activities of journalists have been registered during the elections to local self-government bodies held in the months of September and October 2016. Moreover, two of them have been accompanied by physical violence.
Thus, on September 17, in the precinct 18 of Nor Kyanq community of Ararat region Khazhak Aghabekyan, chairman of the electoral commission, attacked Tigran Mazmanyan, photo correspondent of Araratnews.am, hit his camera, using profanities towards him.