INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO CONDEMN DECISION TO BAN FM BROADCASTS OF RFERL, VOA AND BBC

January 6th, 2009
Condemning the decision of the Azerbaijani government and the country's National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) to cease the local FM broadcasts of RFERL, VOA and BBC continues.

A number of international organizations say they are disappointed about the decision of Azerbaijani government and NTRC.
“USA is decisive in restoring foreign radios’ broadcasting in Azerbaijan.” Charge d'affaires of the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Don Lu said this during his interview to Radio Liberty. Lu said he regrets that foreign radio stations’ broadcasting was ceased. “International Broadcasting Council of America and BBC leadership will try to negotiate with Azerbaijani government to restore the broadcasting of the radios. If the broadcasting of the radios is not restored, this will affect Azerbaijan negatively,” he said.
The US State department addressed a letter to Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in connection with this problem. In the letter the deep regret of the US government is reflected because of the closure of broadcasts of Radio Liberty, VOA and BBC via FM frequency (“Bizim Yol” newspaper).
The US Broadcasting Council member Jeffrey Hirschberg, who is administering the broadcasts of Radio Liberty and VOA, noted that Azerbaijani people lost in this situation.
This month Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will hold its winter session. PACE Monitoring Committee Co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel told this to Azerbaijani Service of BBC, and added that he will give information about the decision to ban the broadcasting of foreign radio stations in Azerbaijan and March referendum to prolong the number of terms one person can be elected as a president.
“I hope that foreign radio stations will keep on broadcasting in our country according to Azerbaijani legislation. There’s no restriction to the broadcasting of these radios here and will not be in the future.” Azerbaijan’s Head of Representatives in PACE Samad Seyidov told this to “Bizim Yol” newspaper.
“At present we are waiting for recommendations from NTRC, and other relevant organs engaged in TV and Radio broadcasting, and foreign radio leaderships.” Presidential Administration Socio-political Department Head Ali Hasanov told this to “Turan” Information Agency. Hasanov noted that returning FM frequencies to the radios is not a topic for discussions, and that discussions are being carried out to broadcast these radios through other alternative means.