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Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili spoke about TV and Radio broadcasting legislation, problems and solution.
IRFS’ monitoring results paved the way for preparation of the political document. In Azerbaijan, TV and radio broadcasting should be regulated by the National Television and Radio Council and members of the Council are appointed by the President. However, all the council meetings are held closed. I believe that, a law should be adopted about the council’s structure, selection process and its power. As for licensure, the council’s last tender was conducted improperly.”- said Rashid Hajili.
IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov spoke about what measures can be taken for improvement of TV and Radio broadcasting in Azerbaijan. He put forward his proposals. “The government should demonstrate political will and ensure the rule of law. We suppose that by suspending the operation of AZTV, the broadcaster of 3 state-run TV channels, the government could then create 3 public TV channels. The international donors should support new media agencies, ” Huseynov said.
IRFS Project Coordinator Rasul Jafarov spoke about the results of the monitoring. “We monitored all the prime-time programs of 8 TV channels within 18 months. In TV channels, the President, government and New Azerbajian Party received extensive and positive coverage. There were no debates in the channels other than ITV and ANS. Even the election period lacked TV debates. The level of political diversity is too low. State-run AZTV and Sports Azerbaijan allocated positive coverage for ruling forces and governmental agencies,” Jafarov said.
International expert Ivan Godarsky spoke about the specifications of TV news programs. He gave information about differences between public service broadcasters and private channels. “Public or state-run TV channels are financed by tax payers and therefore they have a higher responsibility. The private channels are dependent on the market, they form their editorial policy themselves. Right to freedom of expression cannot be limited by any indirect means, such as the abuse of government or private control over the mass media. Provisions for the newscasts and current affairs programs should ensure fairness, balance and impartiality,” he said. Godarsky also gave information about the results of TV monitoring in Moldova.
“As a continuation of this project, we are monitoring TV channels in Nakhchivan. It is important to continue this project, because the channels can make changes in their operation based on the results of this monitoring. As of March, we’ll voluntarily monitor AzTV and Public TV channels,” IRFS representative Idrak Abbasov said.
Nakhchivan IRFS representative, Elman Abbasov, spoke about the specifications of the monitoring in Nakhchivan, the results and future activities.
Media Rights Institute representative Khalid Agaliyev spoke about the lawsuits filed within the framework of the project and their importance. He said that about 10 lawsuits are currently in execution and they could be taken to the European Court if necessary.
Of the invited TV channels, governmental agencies and parliamentarians, only representatives from Public TV, Communications and Information Technologies Ministry, Culture and Tourism Ministry and MP Gudrat Hasanguliyev attended the conference.
The event, which was also attended by experts, political figures and NGO representatives, discussed general issues as well.