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.