Thursday, January 16 2020 14:07
Alexandr Avanesov

RA Prime Minister: The logos of at least two TV channels can be  substituted with the words "Corruption" or "Corruption Group

RA Prime Minister: The logos of at least two TV channels can be  substituted with the words "Corruption" or "Corruption Group

ArmInfo.  The Council of the Public Television and Radio Company of Armenia intends to conduct an international audit to study television frequencies. Minister of  High-Tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia Hakob Arshakyan stated  this at a government meeting on January 16.

According to him, the Council intends for the first time to conduct  such an audit, during which, in accordance with international  experience, the audience of digital television will be studied, the  reliability of the results of monitoring television and radio  programs, and the methodology for providing frequencies. In order to  conduct an audit, the Council turned to the Cabinet of Ministers of  the country with a request to allocate 26.6 million drams from the  Government Reserve Fund. The Council previously submitted a proposal  to a number of international structures on conducting an audit, on  the basis of which the company that offered the lowest price was  identified, it was the "Atmosphere Armenia" company with which after  the decision of the government a corresponding agreement will be  signed.

In turn,  Minister of Finance of the Republic of Armenia Atom  Janjughazyan once again made a call to observe fiscal discipline. He  recalled that the approved state budget of the country is in the  nature of program budgeting. The funds proposed for deduction from  the Reserve Fund for auditing account for only 0.35% of the total  budget of the Public Television and Radio Company of 7.520 billion  drams. He urged to seek the necessary resources within the framework  of this budget, since deductions from the state budget for these  purposes are not provided. The Minister also expressed concern that,  having made the decision, a precedent will be created and any person  will have the right to submit applications for opening additional  financing, which is unacceptable. He also pointed out the  vulnerability of the contract with the contractor, believing that  this document is not yet a fact of identifying the real owner of the  company. In addition, not always the lowest price is an indicator of  the high quality of the upcoming work.

In this regard, RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan assured the head of  the Ministry of Finance that he would not sign the decision until all  the details were agreed. He stated the need for transparency in the  media, also pointing to the existence of monopolies in the country's  media space. The Prime Minister recalled the existing practice of  distributing one centralized company received advertising funds  between television and radio companies, in accordance with their  rating. Moreover, often these funds are used as control over the  information flow and are closely connected with the families of  former senior officials of the country. In this regard, the head of  government called for continued work to ensure transparency not only  in government circles or large companies, but also in public  organizations and the media. "The logos of at least two TV channels  can be substituted with the words "Corruption" or "Corruption Group"  the head of government said. He also stated the need to identify the  real owners of the media.

RA Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan noted that discussions are  underway to restore the situation regarding mandatory audit in large  companies. He did not rule out that in order to provide real owners,  many ZAO or LLC, including the media, will be transformed into open  joint-stock companies. In this context, the Deputy Prime Minister  pointed out the importance of developing and implementing appropriate  criteria for assessing transparency. "Within two months, relevant  proposals will be submitted to the court of government and the  public," Tigran Avinyan noted.  Meanwhile, another Deputy Prime  Minister Mher Grigoryan called for a conceptual solution to the  issue, moreover, exclusively at the expense of the beneficiaries, and  the government would act as a consumer.  "Why are banks obliged to  conduct audits at their own expense, but not other companies?", the  deputy prime minister asked.  RA Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan  said that the issue of identifying real media owners is on the agenda  of the Ministry of Justice. He recalled that this measure is  currently being applied to enterprises in the mining industry.

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