CPFE Quarterly Report (July-September 2010)

Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression

 Quarterly Report On the Situation with Freedom of Speech and Violations of Rights of Journalists and Media in Armenia

(July-September 2010)

 Starting from 2010, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression will provide interim quarterly reports, in addition to annual reports, on the situation with freedom of speech, including the following:

1. Legislation on the freedom of speech and media, amendments to such legislation and related processes;

2. The economic environment and its influence on the media;

3. The political environment and its influence on the media;

4. Violations of rights of the media and journalists.

The first quarterly report was presented on April 8, 2010, the second on July 21.

This report covers the period of July-September 2010.

1. Legislation on the Freedom of Speech and Media

The third quarter of 2010, as well as January-March, was not marked with the adoption of laws or amendments to laws relating to the field of media.

According to the RA Law “On Amendments and Supplements to the RA Law on Television and Radio”, on July 20 and 27, the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) announced a contest for broadcasting licenses through digital broadcasting network in the territory of Armenia. Prior to that, on June 27, the NCTR had approved of the regulations of the contest. The announced contest provides overall 25 licenses.

On September 18, Armen Arzumanyan, the press secretary of the RA President, told the media that taking into account the active discussions around the Law “On Television and Radio”, as well as the opinions of the political figures and NGOs, RA President Serj Sargsyan suggested that the RA Human Rights Defender form a task group to finalize the legislative regulations on the digitial broadcasting processes. According to Armen Arzumanyan, with the involvement of several organizations and individuals, the representative group will contribute to a more comprehensive discussion of the existing issues. On September 28, it became known that the RA Human Rights Defender Armen Harutyunyan had asked the following people to nominate their representatives: Artak Davtyan, the RA NA Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs, Manuk Vardanyan, the RA Minister of Transport and Communication, Grigor Amalyan, NCTR Chairman, Gagik Buniatyan, the Director of Public TV and Vazgen Manukyan, the President of the Public Council. A number of journalistic non-governmental organizations agreed to get involved in the task group headed by the Ombudsman. The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression decided to not to take part in the activities of that group, as it has its own task group, which has already held a number of discussions, conducted a preliminary research and has been preparing its suggestions to be presented to state competent authorities, including the Human Rights Defender.

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