CHANGES THAT ARE PROPOSED TO AZERBAIJAN’S MASS MEDIA AND TELE-RADIO BROADCASTING LEGISLATION

March 4th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety has obtained a copy of the legislative changes proposed to Azerbaijan’s laws on Mass Media and Tele-radio Broadcasting. They are as follows:

In the Tele-radio Broadcasting Law:

Article 10. Private broadcasters

According to the proposed change, relevant government agencies must be informed about any proposed changes in the ownership or shares of a private tele-radio broadcaster.  Within two months, the government will express its opinion about whether the proposed change comports to the law on Tele-radio Broadcasting, and then the changes shall be made. Private broadcasters have one month to present to relevant government agencies new documents reflecting the change.
 

Article 11. On the government’s main functions and duties in the tele-radio broadcasting sphere

According to the first proposed change, if the demands of the law and/or the conditions and rules of special agreements (licenses) are violated, a lawsuit is filed.

According to the second proposed change, in necessary cases (events are significant to the public, elections, important athletic competitions, etc.) foreign television and radio stations have permission to broadcast via satellite within Azerbaijan.
 

Article 23. About the temporary and permanent revoking of special agreement (licenses)

There are two proposed changes to this article.

According to the first proposed change to this article, is the demands of this law and/or the rules and conditions of special agreements (licenses) are violated a special agreement (license) can be temporarily or the broadcasting of a particular program can revoked for up to one month through a court decision.

According to the second proposed change, a case in which special agreements (licenses) can be revoked has been added, and that case is when a broadcaster is sanctioned by relevant government organs three times or more within one year.
 

Article 35. Broadcasting of advertisements

According to the proposed change to this article, there can be no more than twelve (12) minutes of advertisements and/or telemarketing per hour of programming.
 

Article 37. Correspondent points, branches and offices

According to the proposed change to this article, broadcasters must broadcast the same programming on their frequency throughout Azerbaijan.
 

Article 39. Authorship rights

According to the proposed change to this article, broadcasters who have violated the law on Tele-radio broadcasting are obligated to, within the timeframe stipulated by the government, broadcast information about their violation on their own TV or radio channel.  
 

In the Mass Media Law:

Article 19. On the stoppage and revocation of production and dissemination of mass media

According to the proposed change to this article, in the three new situations listed below, relevant government organs can appeal to the court for the revocation of production and dissemination of mass media for up to two months. These cases are:

   1. When a foreigner or some who does not have a university education is appointed to be editor of print mass media
   2. When print mass media does not within ten (10) days of publication send free, obligatory copies to relevant government agencies
   3. When mass media is brought to administrative responsibility for abusing freedom of the press or journalists’ rights, and then repeats the same violation within one year