*UPDATE (26 June 2008): Final version of PACE resolution does not include demands of granting a broadcasting licence to A1+ TV station "without further delay". In general, it has been substantially toned down, under the influence of Armenian parliamentarians:
"The Assembly recalls that there is a need for a pluralistic electronic media environment in Armenia and, referring to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the denial of broadcasting license to A1+, calls on the licensing authority to now ensure an open, fair and transparent licensing procedure, in line with the guidelines adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 26 March 2008 and with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights."
There are speculations that this is a result of some kind of behind the scenes deal between John Prescott, Council of Europe and Armenian authorities, to ensure Serj Sargsyan's administration compliance with the Resolution, while avoiding strongly worded open statements. The other possibility is that this is a consequence of John Prescott's continuing disastrous role as PACE rapporteur on the Armenian elections, in a new format. This guy should be kept away from anything related to democracy, human rights, as far as possible. If you doubt, ask anyone from the UK...
In a separate but related development, Raffi Hovhannisyan of the opposition Heritage party - the only opposition MP from Armenia in PACE - refused to participated in further PACE sessions until Armenia gets back into European track of development and comply with its obligations in terms of democracy and human rights. This move was strongly criticised by... yes, John Prescott.
"The Assembly takes note of the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights finding a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights in relation to the refusal of the Armenian authorities to grant a broadcasting licence to A1+ TV station. The authorities should now grant it a broadcasting licence without further delay, in line also with a long-standing demand of the Assembly."
From the draft Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Armenia, which will be approved tomorrow.
I mentioned in my relevant post that the importance of the European Court of Human Rights decision should not be underestimated. It was a victory for the freedom of speech, and victory for the shut down independent/pro-opposition A1+ TV station versus Armenian government. As this Resolution also proves, from now on this issue will feature prominently on Armenia's European agenda, and pressures on the authorities to grant a broadcasting licence to A1+ TV station will intensify.