VIENNA, 15 June - Despite amendments, Armenia's new Law on Television and Radio fails to promote broadcast pluralism in the digital era, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, said today.
The law, adopted by Parliament on 10 June, would need a presidential signature to take effect.
Mijatovic said Armenian authorities had discussed the law draft with civil society and the international community, and that her Office had provided a legal review of the draft.
"Although some recommendations from the legal review have been addressed, other recommendations that are of crucial importance for a smooth transition from analogue to digital broadcasting have not been taken into account," she said.
Mijatovic said that the law's shortcomings included a limit to the number of broadcast channels; a lack of clear rules for the licensing of satellite, mobile telephone and online broadcasting; the placement of all forms of broadcasting under a regime of licensing or permission by the Regulator; the granting of authority to the courts to terminate broadcast licences based on provisions in the law that contain undue limitations on freedom of the media; and a lack of procedures and terms for the establishment of private digital channels.
"Armenia should not lose the opportunity to adopt forward-looking media legislation. New technologies, including digital broadcasting, should be used by governments to strengthen media pluralism. These technologies can improve access to information and enable the public to seek, access and impart information," she said.
Mijatovic emphasized that her office is ready to continue its support to the authorities in all legislative reforms related to media freedom.
The full text of the OSCE review and a recent addendum, in English and in Armenian,Â are available at: www.osce.org/fom