Armenia’s broadcasting regulator, the Television and Radio Broadcasting Network, has taken six TV channels, including pro-government channels, off the air for failing to pay their broadcasting fees.
Two major channels, Armenia TV and Shant, as well as Free News, a station affiliated with Parliamentary Speaker Alen Simonyan, were taken off the air by the Armenian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network on Tuesday for failing to pay their broadcasting fees.
The Broadcasting Network, which operates under the Ministry of High Tech Industry, also barred Fortuna, Dar-21, and A-TV from broadcasting.
A collective of 20 Armenian TV channels issued a statement criticising the move in response, claiming that advertising revenues had suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.
They also cited new copyright and language requirements as contributing to increasing the operational expenses for broadcasting in the country.
The collective also expressed concern about the timing of the decision, as Yerevan braces for municipal elections in September, and said people had a constitutional right to timely and uninterrupted information.
‘In the case of a negative response, the undersigned TV stations will take additional necessary steps in order to protect their rights in accordance with the law’, the statement concluded.