Azerbaijan Clarifies Broadcasting Regulations

Document Sample
Azerbaijan Clarifies Broadcasting Regulations Powered By Docstoc
					    Azərbaycan Respublikasının                                            Embassy of the Republic
        ABŞ-dakı Səfirliyi                                             Azerbaijan to the United States

                2741 34th Street, NW, Washington DC, 20008 – Tel.: (202) 337-3500 Fax: (202) 337-5911

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   CONTACT: Ramzi Teymurov
Jan 29, 2009                                                                  
                                                                                         (202) 337-3500, ext.32

                     Azerbaijan Clarifies Broadcasting Regulations
January 29, 2009—Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov has sent a letter to
the U.S. Helsinki Commission clarifying the country’s foreign radio broadcasting regulations.

In his letter addressed to commission leadership—Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida), Sen. Benjamin
Cardin (D-Maryland) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey)—Minister Mammadyarov made clear
that the decision of the National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) on the discontinuation of
broadcasts of foreign radio companies via national frequencies seeks to implement the 2002 “Law on
Television and Radio Broadcasting,” legislation that was previously examined by experts from the
Council of Europe.

Minister Mammadyarov further elaborated on the implementation of this law: “Despite this law going
into immediate effect, the NTRC began its gradual implementation over the course of several years
recognizing the need for flexibility and allowing the local population to be more acquainted with the
different access forms to the foreign media outlets. As of 2006, the NTRC began follow strictly this law
starting with Russia and Turkish TV channels, as well as French radio. The countries concerned showed
respect to the national legislation and internal affairs of Azerbaijan despite the complexity of the issue.”

Minister Mammadyarov stressed that the law must be applied fairly and evenly to all foreign
broadcasters, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, and the British
Broadcasting Corporation. He also highlighted the fact that the NTRC’s implementation of sovereign
law is in line with the practice of other advanced democracies, including France, Great Britain and

For the purpose of clarifying any misunderstanding on the current status of foreign broadcasts in
Azerbaijan, Minister Mammadyarov specifically emphasized that the implementation of law covers only
Azerbaijan’s limited national frequencies. Foreign broadcasters, he noted, are welcome to continue their
programs through other numerous means, including cable, satellite, Internet and shortwave.

Minister Mammadyarov also mentioned that: “The contribution these broadcasters have made to the
development of democracy and media pluralism is highly appreciated. At the same time, Mr. Chairman,
I am sure the respect of sovereign law is of great importance”.

In his letter, Minister Mammadyarov also shared some of the most recent developments in Azerbaijan
pointing to the proliferation of access to the Internet and to satellite and cable channels, as well as to a
decrease in the consumer costs of these services.

                   Prepared by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States