“In the five years of the NTRC’s activities no one single tender for radio frequency has been announced,” National Television and Radio Council (NTRC) Chairman Nushirvan Maharramli said, while answering questions during a press conference dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the NTRC.
Maharrmali added that in some other countries there are hundreds or even thousands of TV channels, but this creates a monitoring problem for the government. “To avoid confronting such problems we still don’t give licenses to radio stations,” said Maharramli. Another reason for the absence of tenders on radio frequencies is a shortage of qualified workers for radio stations. In the near future, the NTRC plans to buy special equipment for the monitoring of all radio broadcasts. Maharramli said only after this equipment is purchased and monitoring is conducted will express any position on the state of radio stations. “We still cannot monitor the radio stations, but we are taking steps to prevent tyranny and chaos,” said Maharrmli.
IRFS believes that that Maharramli’s comments are unfounded. Instead of answering the question properly, the NTRC chairman evaded it. In reality what the NTRC, who serves the government, knows, is that it is cheaper to open a radio station then to open a TV station. Therefore, if a radio frequency tender was announced more potential investors would participate. In addition, genuinely independent radio stations could be created, something not in the interest of the ruling party. At present it can be said that all of Azerbaijan’s TV channels and radio stations are under control of the government. Azerbaijan’s population can hear some limited dissenting views on “BBC,” Radio “Liberty,” and “Voice of America” radio stations.