|ECtHR finds Armenia in violation of Article 10 for refusal of broadcasting rights|
On 17 June 2008, the European Court of Human Rights found Armenia in breach of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in the KHRP- assisted case of Meltex Ltd and Mesrop Movsesyan v. Armenia.
The case was brought to the Court by Meltex, owners of the first independent Armenia television company A1+ and its chairman Mr Mesrop Movsesyan. Meltex alleged that Armenia was in breach of Article 10 when the National Television and Radio Commission (NTRC) continually rejected its bids for a broadcasting licence. Since obtaining licensed frequency to broadcast during assigned periods in 1995, A1+ received daily threatening calls from public officials threatening to deprive A1+ of its assigned broadcasting hours as frequencies were granted by the State to defend and further State interests, rather than to criticise authorities. Prior to the presidential election A1+ refused to show only pro-Government material and so State broadcasting was suspended in May 1995.
On 19 February 2002 the NTRC announced calls for tenders for broadcasting frequencies. The applicant company and two other, inexperienced companies submitted bids. The applicant’s bid was rejected and other bids made by the applicant for tenders were rejected with no reasoning as to why bids were rejected.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, described the decision of the Court as “a victory for freedom of expression” which should serve as “a lesson to all governments inclined to arbitrary interpretations of Article 10”. To read the full statement by Terry Davis click here