More reaction to Azerbaijan's plan to take foreign radios off FM dial (updated).

Posted: 08 Nov 2008   Print   Send a link
"USA is concerned over possible shutdown of some famous foreign radio stations in Azerbaijan, US ambassador to Azerbaijan Anne Derse told reporters. 'We are concerned with possible shutdown of some radio stations in Azerbaijan.'" Today.az, 6 November 2008. “We want to promote democracy, freedom of media and process of political reforming in Azerbaijan,’ Ambassador said. Trend News Agency, 5 November 2008.
     "American 'Liberty Radio' (or its Azeri name 'Azadlig') is going to react upon the statement of Azerbaijan National Broadcasting Council about closing of foreign radio stations. 'Azadlig' informed the Station’s administration is familiarized with the situation and deeply considering the matter. 'So far we are evaluating the information and going to make a decision linked with our respond. We believe our radio plays an important role for Azeri people by delivering professional non-censored news. We will keep on operating,' it was informed." ABC.az, 3 November 2008.
     "Radio listeners who depend on the three stations for regular news have created several online support groups on social-networking websites, including Facebook, Yahoo!, Day.az, terming the decision to stop the stations’ broadcasts 'a serious assault to freedom of speech.'" Eurasianet.org, 4 November 2008.
     "The Musavat [opposition] party adopted a special statement due to the possible shutdown of the Azadlyg, Voice of America and BBC radio stations. The party considers that by such actions the powers want to put a pressure on freedom of speech and press again." Today.az, 4 November 2008.
     "Voice of America journalists and media freedom organizations are concerned, however, that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a bipartisan body which oversees VOA and RFE/RL, will use the excuse of the crackdown on FM rebroadcasting in Azerbaijan to shut down the production in Washington of all VOA Azeri radio programs." Ted Lipien, Blogger News Networ, 5 November 2008.
     Update: "The United States is deeply concerned by reports that Azerbaijan’s National Television and Radio Council may discontinue local radio broadcasts of international media, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Voice of America (VOA) and the BBC. The Chairman of Azerbaijan's National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) said on October 31, that foreign broadcasts on frequencies controlled by the government of Azerbaijan may cease in 2009. There was no advance communication with the affected broadcasters, nor with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which provides oversight for all U.S. international broadcasting. The United States believes that international broadcasters such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the BBC have enriched public debate in Azerbaijan and contribute to Azerbaijan’s democratic development. Discontinuing such broadcasts would send a disturbing message. We are seeking clarification from the Government of Azerbaijan." State Department press statement, 6 November 2008.
     "We call upon the Azerbaijan National Television and Radio Council to review their decision and to approach the issue from the perspective of freedom of expression and the public interest." Article 19, 5 November 2008 (pdf). See previous post about same subject.