The government has decided to allocate 26.6 million AMD from the government’s reserve fund to the Public Television and Radio Company for conducting international audits at the television broadcasting company.
The audit should verify the reliability of the digital television auditorium and broadcast monitoring service provided by the Admosphere Armenia company providing telemetry in Armenia and the compliance of the telemetry methodology with international standards.
According to the Minister of High Technological Industry Hakob Arshakyan, such an audit has never been conducted in Armenia.
The Government’s justification states that the Board of Public Television and Radio has applied to a number of internationally experienced foreign companies and has received bids, finding it appropriate to apply to the 3M3A company which offered the lowest price for international audit.
Gegham Gevorgyan, chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, said at the government meeting that this year the commission will also study the media advertising market, advertising distribution mechanisms and interconnections between TV companies.
While discussing the issue of television broadcasting and measurement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said they would continue their consistent fight against monopolies, “We need to increase the transparency of important institutions of public life. In this case, it is about the television market. We have a certain monopoly position in that market today.”
The Prime Minister has put forward a scheme according to which one of the two agencies established in Armenia distributes the money generated in the TV advertising market, the other measures the ratings of the TV companies, and the advertising money is distributed according to the ratings recorded.
“In essence, the advertising market in the television market is monopolized. And if there is an interdependence between TV companies, ratings, and money-sharing companies, we can state that there is a clear function of controlling information flows in the country. And this function is under the control of persons connected with the former leaders of the republic,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
Speaking about the past 1.5 years of work on transparency of the government, he noted that non-governmental organizations and the media should be transparent, as well as reveal their real owners.
According to Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan, mechanisms to identify the true owners are going to be introduced. The first mechanism was developed for the mining companies in the form of self-disclosure. However, according to the minister, this is not enough to reveal the real owners. The same mechanism will be used for everyone.
The Prime Minister also noted that “In Armenia, there are private-owned, and even corruption-prone TV companies.”
“The word ‘corruption’ can be used in the place of the logos of at least two TV channels, or ‘The Corruption Group company presents a breaking news release,'” he continued.
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the activities of these TV companies reveal “not only the scope of the main corruption but also their tangible bumps and metastasizes.” It will also facilitate their work in the fight against corruption.
“The media war that is waged against our government and people helps us to increase the quality of our work more and more, but we must take the path of having real logos written on real TV companies,” the Prime Minister said.