BAKU: ANS Pulls BBC Off Air

ANS Pulls BBC Off Air

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
June 2 2004

Baku Today 03/06/2004 01:17

Azerbaijan’s private ANS Media and Broadcasting Company pulled the
Russian-language radio programs of the BBC Central Asia and Caucasus
Service off the air on Tuesday in response to what ANS called the
BBC management’s failure to stop the service’s biased reports on

ANS, which was one of the re-broadcasters of the programs in
Azerbaijan, had set up deadline to the BBC World Service in Mid-May to
stop the purported unbalanced reports by June 1 or see its broadcasts

ANS demanded the BBC World Service fire an ethnic-Armenian producer
of its Central Asia and Caucasus Service, Mark Griogorian, whom ANS
blamed for anti–Azerbaijani propaganda.

While expressing regret for ANS’s decision to pull the Russian
programs off the air, a statement by the BBC said the corporation
is committed to the objective coverage of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

“We are concerned that listeners in Azerbaijan would be deprived of our
reliable and unbiased news and information especially in a time when
there is a greater need for international news,” said the statement,
which was posted on the Russian web site of the BBC Central Asia and
Caucasus Service.

The statement said that BBC would keep covering events in the region
in a balanced, fair and accurate way as it is doing all over the world.

The Russian programs of the BBC Central Asia and Caucasus Service in
Azerbaijan are being re-broadcast by the State Television and Radio
Company and also by the BBC’s own FM frequency 103.3 in Baku.