June 10th, 2008

The founder of Kapaz TV channel which is broadcast in Ganja was changed a few days ago.

Reliable sources told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that Kapaz TV was forcefully seized from its former owner Rufat Asgarov Rasim oglu through attacks from government representatives.

R. Asgarov was forced to flee. He called from abroad and informed IRFS’ sources about his situation. R. Asgarov said that employees from one of the “force” ministries pressured him, before the channel was seized. He couldn’t bear this, and was forced to “sell” the channel for free and leave the country. It is also said in the report that the new owners of the TV channel are unofficial representatives of private organizations that have ties to the leadership of the country.

To learn about the position of the opposite side, IRFS contacted Kapaz TV leadership. Newly appointed TV channel Head Fuad Jabbarov said that the reports about pressure being used to buy “Kapaz” TV channel are absurd. He says that he purchased the channel from R. Asgarov on a voluntary purchase contract. F. Jabbarov evaded a question about the price paid for the channel, claiming it is a commercial secret.

“Rufat Asgarov expressed an interest in selling the TV channel at the beginning of this year. Our new owner decided to buy the channel after he heard about this. We paid the money that Rufat Asgarov asked for, and he went abroad because he found a job there,” said Jabbarov. He then went on to tell an employee of IRFS, “Don’t exaggerate this matter; any one who inflates this case will be sorry.”

IRFS also contacted National TV and Radio Council Chairman Nushiravan Maharramli about this matter. Maharramli said that he doesn’t has no information that TV channel was purchased under pressure, and added that as he was informed since the beginning of 2008 that the owner of the “Kapaz” TV was trying to sell the channel. Although Maharramli didn’t say anything about the new owners of the TV channel, he mentioned that the new owner is not a legal person.

IRFS attempted to contact former founder of the “Kapaz” TV Rufat Asgarov direct, but was unsuccessful reaching both Asgarov and his close relatives.

“Kapaz” TV channel was established on 14 July 1993 and began broadcasting on 6 May 1994. “Kapaz” TV was broadcast through on the ground broadcasting. Among regional TV channels, “Kapaz” TV was comparatively independent, and considered a popular TV channel in Ganja, which is the second biggest city in Azerbaijan.