Armenia’s transition from analogue to digital broadcasting

An OSCE-supported report detailing Armenia’s switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting was presented today in Yerevan. The report notes that while the technical preparations are going to schedule,  not enough effort has been invested in raising public awareness and that the criteria for distributing decoders to vulnerable families is not clear.

The report, which was produced by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) with support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, analyzes the implementation of the Government’s Action Plan on Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting. Armenia committed to digitalization by July 2015.

The report covers three aspects of the digital switchover: legal, technical and social. It identifies many gaps in Armenia’s broadcast legislation. These include the absence of legal provisions elaborating on the conditions for licensing of private multiplexes as well as uncertainty regarding various broadcast technologies and the impact it may have on media freedom in the country.

“The OSCE continues to support Armenia’s regulatory framework reform and the digital switchover. The new draft amendments to the law on Television and Radio, developed by professional media organizations, reflect key recommendations of the OSCE experts,” said Oliver McCoy, Democratization Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan. “I believe that today’s discussions will serve as basis for further dialogue between government and civil society as Armenia makes this technological leap to a digital broadcasting system.”

Ashot Melikyan, CPFE Chairman said: “The Report provides several recommendations concerning technical and social aspects of the digital transition, which must be duly considered. In addition, the working group established with OSCE support, consisting of partner organizations, resulted in the development of a package of draft amendments to the Law on Television and Radio, already submitted to the Parliament, addressing legal problems mentioned in the Report.”

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