FREEDOMHOUSE: PLANS TO SHUTDOWN RFERL/VOA IN AZERBAIJAN “MAJOR STEP BACKWARD”

December 6th, 2008
The U.S. organization Freedom House released a statement yesterday called the plans of Azerbaijan's government to cease the broadcasts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America and BBC "a major step backwards.

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=736.
According to Freedom House, this would be "a serious blow to the country's already dismal press freedom record."
 
"For the past five years, Freedom House has documented an alarming decline in press freedom in Azerbaijan, with the country's authorities distinguishing themselves as some of the world's most regressive on safeguarding press freedom," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. "This proposal by Azerbaijan's National Television and Radio Council risks further alienating the country from the international community."
 
"Blocking the broadcasts of Radio Liberty, The BBC and VOA would be a huge step backward in an environment that already suffers from a lack of credible, independent information," said Christopher Walker, Freedom House director of studies. "Azeri society will suffer as corruption becomes more deeply entrenched due to the country's increasingly non-transparent and unaccountable governance."
 
The statement can be read in its entirety at

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=736.