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Shuttered Armenian TV Station To Try Internet Broadcasts

The logo of Armenia's A1+ TV channel
The logo of Armenia's A1+ TV channel
A popular independent Armenian television station plans to resume broadcasts over the Internet more than eight years after it was taken off the air by authorities, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Mesrop Movsesian, the owner and director of the A1+ TV channel, said today that Armenians will be able to watch its news and other programs live on the Internet by the end of next week.

"We have long been considering launching Internet broadcasts," he told RFE/RL. "But the poor performance of Internet service providers did not allow us to do that. Now everybody has moved one step forward and we want to try that option."

Movsesian referred to the improving quality and falling cost of Internet connections in Armenia. Information technology experts estimate that up to one-fifth of the country's population now has regular access to the service.

Online news reporting has been the TV station's principal activity ever since it lost its broadcasting frequency in April 2002. The National Commission on Television and Radio (HRAH), a presidentially appointed regulatory body, gave its license to another broadcaster that was loyal to the government.

A1+, backed by local and international media watchdogs, denounced the decision as government retribution for news coverage critical of then-President Robert Kocharian. It has since tried unsuccessfully to win another frequency in over a dozen tenders administered by the HRAH.

The commission claims those tenders were objective and wholly competitive.

The HRAH plans to resume fresh frequency biddings in July. Movsesian said earlier this month that A1+ is already preparing to participate.