YEREVAN, March 12. / ARKA /. The National Assembly of Armenia has passed today in the first reading a bill allowing Armenian TV channels to advertise strong alcoholic drinks at a time span from 10 in the evening until 6 in the morning.
The bill was backed by 66 MPs from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. One MP voted against and 2 abstained. The minority lawmakers boycotted the vote.
According to an MP Samvel Farmanyan from the parliamentary majority, the proposed changes are expected to help TV companies to strengthen their financial position and, therefore, think of improving the quality of their programs. He said liquor advertising could help them earn around one billion drams a year.
However, there is an exception for the Armenian brandy that can be advertised around the clock due to the importance of brandy industry for the country's exports.
Another lawmaker from the Republican Party of Armenia, Artak Davtyan, said the law banning advertisement of cigarettes will be toughened further.
Artsvik Minasyan from the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation/ Dashnakstutyun, argued that the bill would give advantage to foreign brands because local distributors of vodka, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages produced by foreign and much more richer companies can buy much more advertisement time than local wine factories.
Aram Manukyan from another oppositional Armenian National Congress accused the ruling majority of intensive promotion of alcoholic drinks instead of finding solutions to many problems in the advertising market. The current law allows only commercials advertising Armenian brandy and wines. -0-