ArmInfo. The press service of the Russian Embassy in Armenia made a statement on the requests of a number of media outlets to comment on the situation in the information space of Armenia around the draft law "On Audiovisual Media" adopted in the first reading. <As far as we understand, in this case the matter concerns discussing a legislative act aimed at modernizing the legal framework for the functioning of audiovisual media in Armenia by essentially replacing the law "On Television and Radio>. First of all, we would like to emphasize that this issue is an internal affair of Armenia as a sovereign state. At the same time, the new law will directly affect the fate of broadcasting of Russian television channels in the Republic. Of course, we are closely following the process of its consideration. But what if we look at the situation around the draft law a little wider?
Of course, its adoption will lead to a fairly serious transformation of the entire industry of the media space. Under the new conditions, foreign broadcasters, and today it is mainly a question of Russian television channels, will be able to broadcast in a public multiplex only on the basis of an interstate agreement. That is, it is necessary to agree on new <rules of the game>, which, apparently, will be proposed by the Armenian side. The Russian side has repeatedly indicated its readiness for an appropriate dialogue. We are waiting for the response of the Armenian partners.
One important aspect of the discussion is the so-called "language" security. As far as we understand, it stipulates the requirement contained in the draft law on the mandatory "accompaniment" of a foreign- language media product with dubbing or subtitles in Armenian. Again, in fact, we are talking mainly about Russian-language programs. It is no secret that even from the early stage of the establishment of an independent Armenian state, the Russian language from a formal point of view has lost any special status. New requirements essentially continue this process. But de facto, the Russian language continues to play a greater role in Armenia today than just a foreign language. We know that a significant part of Armenian citizens is directly connected with Russia - someone works there, someone lives with relatives, whom they often visit, etc. Our countries are united by membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. For example, let's take a look at the sensational situation with the recognition of Armenian driver's licenses in Russia. For this, it was necessary that the Russian language in Armenia have an official status. However, despite its absence, understanding the importance of resolving this issue for many Armenian citizens, the Russian side shows a constructive spirit and expresses readiness by joint efforts within the EAEU to find an acceptable solution to this complex issue, taking into account the special ties between our countries. These are just some examples that testify to the special role of the Russian language in Armenia, which is a direct reflection of the realities of our relations.
The same realities determined the interest of the Armenian society in Russian TV channels. By the way, according to the report on the activities of the National Commission on Television and Radio of RA broadcast on "Channel One", "RTR Planet" and "Russia". Culture> have a fairly solid and well-established audience.
Given the new legislative requirements, involuntarily the question arises of the availability of cable packages. If a person considers that the set of channels of the public multiplex does not satisfy his information needs, he will be forced to make a choice in favor of cable television. However, you must admit that in Armenia today not everyone can afford it.
Often it is heard various kinds of reproaches regarding the content of programs shown on Russian television channels. This seems to be largely a matter of preference. In general, any media, including television channels, represent one or more points of view with which the viewer has the right to agree or disagree. You can even challenge them, because, as you know, truth is born in a dispute.
All this is a reflection that in no way claims to interfere in the legislative process. Armenian parliamentarians will vote based on their own understanding of the interests of their state and people. Russia, of course, will respect any decisions in this regard. At the same time, we hope that the above considerations will complement the overall picture of the ongoing discussions. Moreover, the new law will definitely have a significant impact on the information policy, which is an important part of the overall complex of relations between our countries and peoples>, the comment reads.