September 18th, 2008
“To conduct monitoring in any area one needs to have knowledge in this area and involve experts in it.

IRFS’ results cast shadows on this monitoring, implemented regarding political campaign for presidential elections (which requires responsibility), being conducted on high level, because information about Public TV (ITV) here is totally false,” Tahir Mammadov, Head of Public Relations and Monitoring Departments of Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Company, told this to APA.

He said that the results of IRFS’ monitoring, which show that 97 % of Public TV coverage of political actors (candidates for president and the boycotting opposition) is dedicated to presidential nominee Ilham Aliyev, do not conform to reality.   “If the methods of estimation for this figure were unveiled, this false information would have convinced some people who don’t watch Public TV and Radio. However, it is clearly seen that this kind of ridiculous revelation is the fabrication of a person that is totally unfamiliar with the radio and TV field. Look at this expression- ‘programs focusing on political actors’. What kind of programs are these – political analytic, talk shows, news, and news reproduction – is not revealed. Persons giving such unserious revelations that are not based on concrete facts should know that there professional local and international organizations conducting monitoring and these so-called monitoring are no more than lost time compared to those.”

T. Mammadov noted that up to this day, he mainly accepted the results of monitoring conducted by BBC experts with financial support from “Najaf Najafov Fund” and OSCE Baku Office.  

Monitor Rasim Aliyev, who conducted the monitoring on Public TV, considers Tahir Mammadov’s claims are unfounded.

“We have been conducting this monitoring on the basis of a methodology accepted around the world. This methodology was developed by the Slovak media monitoring organization MEMO 98 and has been used around the world. In 28 countries 40 monitoring have been conducted on this methodology. The monitoring is carried out on news programs, talk-shows, and news reproduction programs. The monitoring is conducted on programs that are not about presidential elections as well, and we have been uncovering violations in this kind of programs.  For example, during a concert program dedicated to new school year everyone along with Education Minister Misir Mardanov mentioned Ilham Aliyev’s name positively. The names of other candidates however, were mentioned during this monitoring period only when the decisions of Central Election Commission were announced. Politicians boycotting the elections were demonstrated only once for 3-4 seconds – when signing an agreement about boycotting,” said Rasim Aliyev, noting that IRFS has archived all of ITV’s programming.

IRFS also notes that the Najaf Najfaov Fund is not conducting media monitoring during this election, and the OSCE and BBC also have not unveiled as media monitoring results for this election to date, so its unclear what media monitoring Mammedov claims IRFS’ monitoring contradicts.