Court Grants National TV and Radio Council’s Lawsuit against Private TV Channel Shut Down for “Terrorist Propaganda”

December 23rd, 2016

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On 23 December , Baku Administrative Economic Court #1 held another hearing on the lawsuit of the National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) against ANS Independent Broadcasting & Media Company. The NTRC is asking the court to order ANS to return the state funds allocated for the production of the Absheron soap opera due to the ‘failure to use the funds for their intended purposes’.

At the hearing chaired by Judge Vusala Bakhishova, the court proceedings were completed. The court granted the NTRC’s lawsuit.

The NTRC sued ANS Independent Broadcasting & Media Co. demanding that it repay the 160,000 AZN assigned for the production of Absheron soap opera and a 8,000-AZN fine to the state budget. The NTRC’s argument was that ANS TV presented the Sevgi Namina (For the Sake of Love) soap opera instead of the Absheron. ANS filed a counter-suit.

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 15 July coup attempt in Turkey, and her interview with Gulen.