Azerbaijan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov has sent a letter to the US Helsinki Commission clarifying the country’s foreign radio broadcasting regulations. In his letter, 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 RFE/RL, VOA, and the BBC. 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 Germany.
For the purpose of clarifying any misunderstanding on the current status of foreign broadcasts in Azerbaijan, Minister Mammadyarov specifically emphasized that the implementation of the law covers only Azerbaijan’s limited national frequencies. Foreign broadcasters, he noted, are welcome to continue their programmes through numerous other means, including cable, satellite, Internet and shortwave.
Minister Mammadyarov also said 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”.
(Source: Azerbaijan Press Agency)
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