22:03 GMT +319 June 2019
Listen Live
    World

    Azerbaijan bans foreign radio broadcasts on local frequencies

    World
    Get short URL
    0 01

    Foreign radio stations are not allowed to broadcast on local frequencies in Azerbaijan as of January 1, the oil-rich state's communication ministry said on Thursday.

    BAKU, January 1 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign radio stations are not allowed to broadcast on local frequencies in Azerbaijan as of January 1, the oil-rich state's communication ministry said on Thursday.

    The December 30, 2008 decision by Azerbaijan's National Television and Radio Council, criticized by Western nations as undemocratic, terminates the broadcasting licenses of the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and some other stations.

    The foreign stations are now only allowed to broadcast in the ex-Soviet Caucasus republic via satellite, Internet or cable.

    The U.S. State Department earlier said the move would "represent a serious setback to freedom of speech, and retard democratic reform in Azerbaijan."

    Azerbaijan has also tightened requirements for domestic TV and radio channels. All broadcasts must be in Azerbaijani, except for news broadcasts, which can be in Russian and English, but with Azerbaijani subtitles, according to Council chairman Nushirevan Magerramli.

    Magerramli said educational programs were also allowed to be broadcast in foreign languages, but with subtitles, and they must not be longer than 30 minutes.

    The media decision came after Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court approved in late December amendments to the Constitution, which will allow the president to be elected an infinite number of times.

    Current leader Ilham Aliyev took over as president when his father, Heydar, stepped down in 2003, subsequently winning the vote in that year's presidential election. In October, Aliyev received 88.73% of the vote to win a second five-year term as president.

    The country will have a referendum on the amendments in March.

    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik