MOSCOW, (AFP) - A media watchdog on Wednesday called on Armenian President Robert Kocharian to make sure that pluralism in the country is guaranteed after the country's only independent television station was ordered closed.
"To reassign the license of a news station to a network providing entertainment means that the country's main news voice is muzzled," said Robert Menard, the secretary general of the French non-governmental Reporters Without Borders organization.
A promise that the A1 Plus station will be able to broadcast on a new frequency is not enough, Menard added in a statement received by AFP in Moscow. Reporters Without Borders asked Kocharian to make sure that what it called the "most serious violation of pluralism in Armenia in the past few years" will be redressed.
A1 Plus's license was revoked Tuesday and given to the Sharm company which is best known for its variety programs. Opposition leaders have accused Kocharian of pulling strings behind the scenes to push through the deal.
Kocharian has denied the charges on television and insisted the committee which reassigned the license was independent. He also accused unspecified political forces of trying to destabilize the country.