Ban on “Mir” broadcasts not lifted

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan) — The issue of stopping broadcasts of the "Mir" television-radio company on Russia’s ORT TV was discussed during a meeting of the board of directors of Mir on Wednesday.

According to Karlen Yalanouzian–director of the Armenian office of Mir–the management of ORT refused to extend the contract with the company which ended on January 1–1997–claiming that the programs had low ratings.

However–Mir was not aware of a Russian ratings system–and the figures suggested by ORT– an estimated 2 percent–according to the Armenia office–are not based in reality.

Yalanouzian said that under the terms of the agreement–ORT should have informed Mir in writing two months prior to the last day of the contract. Mir has filed a lawsuit against ORT–demanding compensation for moral and material damages estimated at 119 billion Russian rublesnearly $24 million.

According to Yalanouzian–ORT has turned into a purely private company–as the Russian government–the main shareholder–does not invest real funds and–therefore–has no right to vote.

Speaking at the meeting–the chairman of the Russian parliamentary committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States stressed that the refusal to broadcast Mir programs on the ORT channel is one of the links in a chain leading to the collapse of the Commonwealth and "one should not be afraid to speak about that."

Mir’s programs will be aired on the Radio and Television of Russia (RTR) channel starting in April 1997–upon approval of the Russian government.

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