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TV Channels Shut Down for Eight Hours in Azerbaijan
February 8, 2016
On February 8, all the national TV channels in Azerbaijan stopped broadcasting from 06.00am until 14.00, due to maintenance work carried out by the Teleradio Production Union (PU), a state agency working in the field of television and radio broadcasting. According to the press communiqué issued by Teleradio PU, routine maintenance is done every 3 months in order to fix, regulate and tune up equipment.
The 8-hour blackout is in fact the result of the monopoly in this sector. At present, 10 nationwide TV channels, 12 regional private TV channels and 12 radio channels are operating in the country with various areas of coverage. Teleradio PU is the only state agency providing telecommunication, satellite communication, satellite broadcasting and other services. Currently, 269 units (35 of which belong to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic) of radio-television broadcasting station operate under the Teleradio PU. Those stations run a total of 335 units of analogue TV transmitter, 103 units of FM radio transmitter (including 1 unit of HD FM), and 124 units (93 units of social broadcasting, 25 units of commercial broadcasting, and 6 units of regional TV) of DVB-T transmitter.
Due to this monopoly, Azerbaijani TV channels went off the air for 8 hours as a result of basic maintenance work. The question that remains is what could happen in case of an emergency (for instance, fire). There should be an alternative transmitter, and it is necessary to invest in this field to avoid similar problems in the future.
According to media law expert Alasgar Mammadli, an 8-hour blackout affecting all national broadcasters is not only unlawful but also damaging to the country’s information security.