ANS Loses its Appeal against National TV and Radio Council

April 13th, 2017

> The television station’s objection to the jury composition was not granted;

> ANS’s representative said they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

On 13 April, Baku Court of Appeal continued the hearing on ANS TV’s complaint against the National TV and Radio Council (NTRC). Presiding Judge Vidadi Mammadov said ANS’s objection against the panel filed at the previous hearing had been considered and denied by the court chairman.

Next, ANS TV’s representative Sevda Maharramova filed a motion to invite a movie expert for testimony. NTRC’s representative Togrul Mirzazade requested that the motion be rejected. He argued that even if an expert came and testified in favour of ANS, they would not change their claim anyway. “It is also about accountability and expenditure of public funds for unintended purposes,” the representative said.

The court denied the motion. After deliberation, the presiding judge announced the decision that rejected ANS’s appeal and upheld the decision dated 23 December 2016 of Baku Administrative Economic Court #1.

ANS’s representative Sevda Maharramova said the television station would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Recall that, during the hearing, the NTRC claimed that although they had signed the contract with ANS for the production of a soap opera called Absheron, the end product presented to them was a different soap opera called For the Sake of Love, and they had therefore demanded the refund of AZN 160,000 allocated to ANS.

ANS filed a countersuit arguing that in fact they had presented the incomplete script to the NTRC at the latter’s own initiative and had agreed on making corrections to it later, based off of which, they had made minor corrections. Based on that argument, ANS claimed that it had complied with the contractual obligations and demanded that it be paid a total of AZN 51,489, including AZN 40,000 owed by the NTRC for the soap opera and additional AZN 11,489.

Baku Administrative Economic Court #1, the court of the first instance, claimed that the soap opera produced by ANS did not correspond to the one envisaged under the contract signed with them. The court justified the NTRC and granted its claim amounting to AZN 168,000 (including a fine of AZN 8,000).

On 18 June 2016, the NTRC decided to stop the broadcasting of ANS TV in order ‘to prevent the provocation aimed at disrupting strategic partnership relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, and open terrorist propaganda’. According to the decision, the broadcast license of ANS CM Broadcasting & Media Co. was terminated. Anspress.com website, which belongs to ANS Group of Companies, also ceased operations. The sanctions against ANS stem from an ANS reporter’s participation at a press conference of Fetullah Gulen, who resides in the US and is accused by Turkish officials of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, and her interview with Gulen.