HUMAN RIGHTS HOUSE GATHERS SIGNATURES OF 24 ORGANIZATIONS ON LETTER TO AZERI PRESIDENT ABOUT BROADCASTS OF RFERL AND VOA

On December the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), a Norway-based international human rights organization, addressed a letter to President Ilham Aliyev, calling for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America to be kept on the national radio frequencies in Azerbaijan.

In the letter, HRHF and the other signatories (24 in total) express concern about the statement made by Azerbaijan's National Radio and TV Council (NRTC) Chairman Nushirvan Maharramli to discontinue local radio broadcasts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RF), the Voice of America (VOA) and the BBC as of 1 January 2009.
 
In the letter it is state, "We are convinced that the three international broadcasters, by providing objective information and live roundtable discussions on social, economic and political issues, make a significant contribution to the public debate in Azerbaijan. To discontinue radio broadcasts of the three radio stations would further impoverish the Azerbaijani media landscape, which already is characterized by a lack of diversity."
 
In the letter, the signatories call upon the Azerbaijan National Television and Radio Council to review their decision and let RFE/RL, VOA, and the BBC continue to use the national FM-frequencies.

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