Freedom House Calls On Armenia To Liberalize Its Broadcast Media

FREEDOM HOUSE CALLS ON ARMENIA TO LIBERALIZE ITS BROADCAST MEDIA

Targeted News Service
December 14, 2010 Tuesday 5:49 AM EST
WASHINGTON

The Freedom House issued the following news release:

Freedom House today called on the Government of Armenia to grant a
broadcasting license to A1+ television station, which has effectively
been shut down by the Armenian state since 2002.

On December 16th the Government of Armenia is expected to announce its
decision regarding new broadcast licenses after a moratorium on new
licenses, instituted in 2008, expired in July of this year. Armenian
authorities have denied twelve previous requests by A1+ for the
re-issuance of its license, despite a ruling in favor of the
independent outlet by the European Court of Human Rights in 2008.

A1+’s license was rescinded in 2002, in a move that was widely
thought to be due to the outlet’s criticism of the government. In
a show of symbolic support for the station, thousands of Armenians
have reportedly donated small amounts of money to a fund created to
assist A1+.

“A thirteenth denial of A1+’s lawful request for a license would be a
slap in the face to advocates of free media everywhere,” said David J.

Kramer, Freedom House Executive Director. “The people of Armenia,
through their efforts to assist A1+, have clearly shown their support
for press freedom. By re-issuing this license, Armenian authorities
will answer their call for a more pluralistic and independent media.”

In its 2010 Freedom of the Press index, Freedom House expressed
skepticism about a media law Armenia passed in April 2009 impacting
the issuance of broadcast licenses, specifically because it afforded
too little independence to the National Commission on Television
and Radio. The report also points to troublesome legislation passed
in August that places further restrictions on journalists through
registration requirements. Armenian press is currently considered
Not Free by the index.

“Ahead of 2012 parliamentary elections, there is a real opportunity
for the Government of Armenia to demonstrate its willingness not
only to turn the page in relation to the events of March 2008,
but to correct past wrongs from more than two years ago,” Freedom
House Senior Program Manager for Eurasia Sam Patten said, adding,
“friends of Armenia everywhere would no doubt welcome these two
concrete steps in the right direction.”

Armenia is ranked Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom
House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free
in Freedom of the Press 2010.

For more information on Armenia, visit:

Freedom in the World 2010: Armenia

Freedom of the Press 2010: Armenia

Nations in Transit 2010: Armenia

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports
democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world,
and advocates for democracy and human rights.

From: A. Papazian

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