Azerbaijan - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Currency||Azerbaijani manat (AZM)|
|Population||8 m (2007)|
|Area||86. 600 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€6.1 bn (2006) (42%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€7.0 bn (2006) (66%)|
|GDP||€13.4 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita||€1.513 (2006)|
|Unemployment||1,4% (registered) (2007)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||10 (2007)|
|Languages||Azerbaijani (Azeri), Lezgi, Russian, Armenian|
The media landscape in Azerbaijan is pluralistic, but very much politically controlled. So says Compendium, an information and monitoring system on cultural policy instruments, measures and debates and on cultural trends in Europe.
State-run and public media in Azerbaijan, which are increasing in number, compete with oppositional and private publications. While previously Russian TV channels were airing in Azerbaijan, since 2008 these have been curtailed. The same counts for Turkish TV stations, only TRT has a special agreement with the Azeri government and can broadcast. In parts of the country broadcasts from Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh can be picked up. The BBC operates BBC Baku FM in the capital.
In 2007, the number of lawsuits filed for libel against journalist increased greatly. In August of that year, the Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament called the press situation in Azerbaijan ‘unacceptable’. Andrew Herkel, Co-rapporteur of the Council of Europe‘s parliamentary assembly, said appropriate, forced, steps would need to be taken in 2008 if the situation in Azerbaijan would not begin to change. On 30 December, 2007, President Ilham Aliev pardoned several jailed journalists as a sign of political goodwill towards the OSCE mission in Azerbaijan.
However, there are more cases of journalists being physically harassed or jailed. Journalist Faramza Allahverdiyev was sentenced to two years in jail after writing a column about the political betrayal of the late president Heydar Aliev by interior minister Ramil Usubov. He was pardonned in 2007. Correspondent Agil Khalil was threatened by an officer of the Ministry of national Security. He received anonymous death threats. Information about his case is still distorted. The legal process is still pending.
The written press in Azerbaijan is mainly divided between vehicles of the government and of the opposition parties. The main newspaper, Azerbaijan, is the official state paper. It was founded by the nation’s parliament. Papers offering views along the governmental spectrum are: Khalg gazeti (the paper of the presidential office), Yeni Azerbaijan (newspaper of the ruling party), Respublika, Mulkiyyet and 525-th Newspaper. Oppositional newspapers include Azadlig (from the oppositional Popular Front party), Baki-Zaman (a local edition of the Turkish Zaman), Yeni Müsavat and Bizim yol. There are also some private newspapers available: Gyun, Ayna-Zerkalo and Ekho (Russian language).
Besides this, each of the nearly 80 districts in Azerbaijan have a state-funded newspaper. There is an obligatory subscription for government organizations, including universities, hospitals and schools.
In 2007, two offices of oppositional newspapers were closed. Officially, the closings were due to problems with maintenance and fire safety. But Gyundelik Azerbaycan of the Azerbaijan Daily called the closure an attempt to stifle media criticism.
Information Agencies in Azerbaijan include:
- Turan, which offers news in Russian, English and Azerbaijani. It releases news both online and in special bulletins.
- APA is the most quoted and widely read information agency in Azerbaijan.
- Trend, in 2006 and 2007 Trend News won the Best Company of the Year Prize in the category of Mass Media in Azerbaijan.
Pluralism in the Azeri audiovisual media circuit is low, according to the Caucasus Media Investigation Center. ANS TV is not owned by the government but is not considered to be independent by locals. The creation of ITV was necessary for Azerbaijan in order to become a member of the Council of Europe.
All other audiovisual media either belong to government bodies, or can be closely linked to the government. For instance, Lider TV is run by the cousin of President Aliev. Other stations include: AzTV, ATV and radio AZAD AZERBAIJAN, SPACE TV and radio SPACE, ITV and radio IJTIMAI and Antenn 101, which is just a radio station.
The price of Internet access is very high in Azerbaijan. By comparison, in most European countries, fees are three times cheaper. Yet, there are more then 1.000.000 million Internet users in Azerbaijan. Media Forum (site of the Internews Azerbaijan), Azedliq.org, Qaynar.info and Day.az.
Because Internet use is increasing, more bloggers are becoming active in Azerbaijan. They use well known blogging systems like blogspot or wordpress. The sole locally-based blogging system Azeriblog has nearly 5.000 registered blogs.
Azerbaijan has four mobile operators. Together, these cover the entire area of the country. Base on this, WAP technology is very known and widely used.
Learning and support
There are tenuniversities in Azerbaijan which offer journalism training to their students. The most popular are:
- Slavyan University
- Nakhchivan State University
- Baku State University
- Khazar University - This is a private university. The main language of instruction is English. The journalism department offers programs on mass media law and policy, social research related to mass media, film making/criticism, radio and TV production, and public relations. Additionally, journalism is also offered as a minor field of study for students majoring in English.
Currently, there are some unions for journalists in Azerbaijan. These are Yeni Nesil, the Journalist Union of Azerbaijan and the Baku Press Club.
14, Firudin Agayev Street
Tel.: (994 12) 497-31-72; 497-30-89
Fax: (994 12) 497-30-899
Baku State University
Rector: Mr. Abel Maharramov
23 Z. Khalilov Street
Tel. no: +99412 975953
Fax No. +9994 12 975953
Khazar University (Neftcilar Campus)
11 Mehseti Street
Phone: (994 12) 217927
Fax: (994 12) 989379