“A1+” TV company has started experimental live broadcasting. The company had announced plans to try internet broadcasting earlier this month, as it prepared to face a new round of broadcast license competitions, which it hopes to win despite an 8-year history of controversially being refused licenses in mutliple competitions.The most trusted name in Armenian broadcast news at the time, “A1+” TV channel was shut down on April 2, 2002 having lost its broadcast license in a competition held by Armenian National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR), a state licensing authority fully controlled by president Robert Kocharian.
Since April, 2002, “A1+” television Company has participated in more than 10 tenders on broadcast licensing, and it has been refused a license on every occasion by the National television and Radio Committee. Armenian media and human rights organizations believe that “A1+” is being targeted for political reasons. The final clarification was made by the European Court of Human Rights. The Court ruled that the Article 10 of the European Convention had been violated, i.e the right of a television Company to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers in its decision of 17 June, 2008.
In a situation, when it seemed, that the authorities have no other choice, but grant “A1+” a license, the authorities braced for another trick: RA National Assembly made an amendment to the “Law on television and Radio” according to which tender for broadcast licensing was suspended for two years. The cover-up for that was the ‘necessity to prepare a national strategy and prepare for a transition to digital broadcasting.’
The trick worked. Despite the European Court of Human Rights decision and multiple statements from various international bodies and organizations, including the Council of Europe, OSCE, the TV company continues to be deprived of the right to broadcast, and the only hopes it has remain the YouTube and very possibly, this Livestream broadcast channel.