Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Seven more digital broadcast licensing competitions announced in Armenia

Armenia's National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) has announced 7 additional competitions for acquiring TV broadcast licenses through digital network.

The competitions will provide for licensing of local TV companies of general profile in seven Armenian regions: Ararat, Armavir, Kotayk, Shirak, Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Aragatsotn.

Earlier, on July 20, 18 competitions were announced for licensing six nationwide TV channels, nine from Yerevan and three regional (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, July 16-22, 2010).

As for the regional ones, later NCTR specified on its website that they regard three regions - Gegharquniq, Lori and Tavush.

Such competitions are held in Armenia for the first time and are determined by the switchover from analogue to digital 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. The legislative changes were 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 applications for the competitions, announced on July 27, will be submitted within October 17-27, 2010. On October 29 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 23, 2010.

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