Parliamentary Hearings On Mass Media Activity

PARLIAMENTARY HEARINGS ON MASS MEDIA ACTIVITY
Lena Badeyan

"Radiolur"
04.06.2008 18:01

As a result of the constitutional amendments, the necessary emerged
to regulate the activity of mass media. Currently the sphere is
regulated by five laws, part of which needs to be amended. Besides,
it is noted in PACE Resolution #1609 that attention should be paid
to the procedure of forming the independent body controlling the
sphere. The activity of broadcasting media is today regulated by
the Council of Public Television and Radio Company headed by Alexan
Harutyunyan and the National Commission on Television and Radio headed
by Grigor Amalyan. Specialist of the sphere gathered at the National
Assembly today to clarify through parliamentary hearings what kind
of legislative changes are necessary to improve the activity of
mass media.

President of the Council of Television and Radio Company Alexan
Harutyunyan suggests implementing the institution of the Ombudsman in
the filed of mass media. Works in this direction are underway with
experts of the Council of Europe, Alexan Harutyunyan informed the
MPs during today’s parliamentary hearings.

In general, according to the President of the Council of Public
Television and Radio Company, it’s necessary to work out mechanisms
of regulating the sphere of activity of mass media, which will
exclude or minimize the negative phenomena we observed during the
past years. These changes should be global and toward that end
it is necessary to hold discussions, featuring representatives of
international organizations and local media institutions.

However, before that it is necessary to implement several changes in
the laws, Alexan Harutyunyan considers. His suggestion on the procedure
of forming the regulating body coincides with the proposals included
in the PACE Resolution.

Among the primary amendments Alexan Harutyunyan pointed to the
procedure of forming the Council of Public Television and Radio Company
and the National Commission on Television and Radio. The Constitution
envisages that half of members of the Commission should be appointed by
RA President and half -by the National Assembly. However, according to
Mr. Harutyunyan, it’s necessary to further clarify these procedures,
and it’s necessary to work out mechanisms that will make this body
more independent.

For that purpose he suggested to ban all eight members of the
Commission from having another job expect for scientific and academic
activity.

Currently only the President and Vice-President of the Commission
are staff members, others work on a voluntary basis. They are often
employees of agencies and directly depend on those.

Alexan Harutynyan suggested that all members of the Commission be
selected through competition. For that purpose, it is necessary
to consolidate some principles in the law. In particular, state
officials should not be included in the jury. The competition for
choosing the members of both the Council of Public TV and Radio
Company and the National Commission on Television and Radio should
be open, and the winner of the competition should be appointed to the
position. According to Alexan Harutyunyan, the procedure should make
the body more independent.

The financing of the Public Television and Radio Company is also
considered a factor of independence, and the European experts
noted that the existing mechanism does not provide for bases of
financial independence. Deferent models have been suggested. Alexan
Harutyunyan suggests that the Public TV and Radio Company may form
its budget independently and present to the National Adherently
through Government.

During today’s hearings the Deputies, journalists and experts listened
to about ten specialists representing organizations engaged in the
field of mass media. Their suggestions will also be considered in
the legislative amendments.

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