By Karine Kalantarian, Harry Tamrazian
Armenia’s embattled independent TV station A1+ applied again for the new frequency tender, after losing another opportunity to resume its broadcasts last month. The final results of the tender that has started today will be announced on July 18.
During the first session of the National Commission for Television and Radio seven private TV networks, including A1+ and Armenia, a major private TV network, presented today their broadcasting projects and the financial resources necessary to back their programs. The companies are required to provide detailed information about programming schedules, the content of the programs and the amount of money that could be invested in the project. Another independent TV station Noyan Tapan, which has lost its broadcasting rights last year, also is competing in the tender.
The National Commission for Television and Radio will review the projects of seven private TV stations that are competing for five frequencies in the current tender. The Commission has stripped the license of A1+ in April of last year, several months before presidential election campaign started in Armenia.
The closure has raised domestic and international outcry and condemnation. Council of Europe, Western NGO’s and some western governments, including United States have criticized the closure urging the Armenian government to reverse the decision.
The New York based media watchdog “Freedom House” indexed Armenia in the list of countries that have no free media, after A1+ lost its license to a little known entertainment company “Sharm”. Under a heavy pressure from Council of Europe and OSCE the Armenian government has promised to restore the broadcasting rights of A1+.
Speaking to reporters yesterday in Yerevan, the head of A1+ said that he believes his company could win the tender. “We have a good chance for victory,” Mesrop Movsesian said. Local observers also believe that A1+ has good chances this time to get a frequency.