Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Digital broadcast licensing competitions announced in Armenia

On July 20 the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) announced 18 competitions of broadcast licensing on the digital network. Such competitions are held in Armenia for the first time and are stipulated by the digital switchover from analogue broadcasting.

For the same reason a two-year moratorium on holding broadcast licensing competitions was introduced in September, 2008. The term of the moratorium expired on July 20, 2010. On June 10, 2010 RA National Assembly adopted the amendments to the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, which were also justified by the need for preparing for digital transition. All the legislative changes were strictly criticized by journalistic and international organizations, which persistently noted that such a reform does not solve the key issues of the broadcast sphere and does not ensure pluralism of the TV air.

The competitions, announced on July 20, provide for licensing of: 6 national TV channels (five are of general profile, one - for rebroadcasting), 9 TV channels in Yerevan (each for - entertainment; youth; music; youth-educational/scientific; current affairs; general profile, and three - for rebroadcasting), 3 regional TV channels (all are of general profile). Nevertheless, it is not specified what are the regions considered.

The competition bids will be submitted within October 10-20, 2010. On October 22 the lists of the applicants will be placed on the website of NCTR, as well as the date and the time for presenting the bids at the NCTR session. The winners of the competitions will be determined on December 16, 2010.

The Procedure for Holding Digital Broadcast Licensing Competitions was approved by the NCTR on June 28, 2010 in line with the amended Law “On Television and Radio”. According to the Procedure, NCTR members determine the winners of the competitions by an open rating vote, assessing the bids at 10 points scale. Point 18 of the Procedure stipulates that the NCTR decisions, regarding the winners, are released right after they are rendered. The next Point prescribes that NCTR provides the applicants with “a duly justified and well-reasoned decision” in ten days.

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