DECISION ISSUED TO DISCONTINUE FOREIGN RADIO STATIONS VIA FM FREQUENCES

December 30th, 2008
Broadcasting of foreign radio stations via local FM frequencies will be ceased as of 1 January 2009.

A decision in connection with this issue was issued during a meeting held in National Radio and TV Council (NTRC) today, 30 December.  After the meeting, during a press conference NTRC Chairman Nushiravan Maharramli stated that three issues were discussed during council meeting.
“The regulation of foreign stations’ activity according to law in Azerbaijan Republic has been the focal discussion point for a long time,” said Maharramli. National Radio and TV Council has also brought this issue up for discussions continuously since 2003. This issue has been solved in stages. First, we stopped the transmission of Russian and Turkish TV Channels and a French radio station, and now Voice of America, BBC and “Radio Liberty” Channels. In the beginning the TV and Radio channels of Russia, Turkey and France were discontinued. And today we adopted a decision to cease the activity of Radio Liberty, Voice of America and BBC. The decision of council members was unanimous regarding this issue. The council did not prolong the license term of Radio Liberty, Voice of America and BBC, but issued a decision to take back FM frequencies given to them. These radio stations can continue broadcasting via alternative means like internet, cable network and satellite.”
Maharramli stated that there were certain decisions about local TV and radio channels also. “A decision was adopted to broadcast all programs, except several, in Azerbaijani language as of 1 January 2009 in Azerbaijan’s TV space. These programs are news, educational programs, enlightenment programs, and socially significant programs. And these will be translated into Azerbaijani language through subtitles,” said Maharramli.
Maharramli emphasized that NTRC issued a decision to cease the activity of “Avropa + Baki” radio station. “We gave this radio license through local radio status,” he said. “We told the radio station that it had to operate via local radio status for a short period of time. However, the “Avropa + Baki” radio station could not fulfill its commitment during this period. NTRC monitoring group found out that the radio station has been broadcast via local frequency 95 % in foreign language. This is a law violation. Therefore the council members adopted a decision to cease the radio’s activity, and an appeal will be made to court in connection with this issue.”