BAKU: Azeri official unhappy about Council of Europe’s requirements

Azeri official unhappy about Council of Europe’s requirements on public TV

Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
13 Sep 04

[Presenter] The Council of Europe practises double standards in its
treatment of Azerbaijan and Armenia. This manifests itself in the
requirements regarding public television. The head of the public and
political department at the presidential administration, Ali Hasanov,
believes that although Armenian Public TV is of a formal nature,
endless requirements are being imposed on Azerbaijan. However, Hasanov
said that the Council of Europe would fail to conduct an experiment
on Azerbaijan.

[Correspondent over video of Hasanov] Baku will not satisfy the
Council of Europe’s advice to abolish state television, the head of the
public and political department at the presidential administration,
Ali Hasanov, said. He believes that a new bill on public TV drafted
by a working group has taken into consideration all recommendations
of the Council of Europe.

[Hasanov] Regrettably, after the second appraisal, the Council of
Europe came up with completely different recommendations and advice
than those given after the first one, i.e. the working group does
not understand what the Council of Europe wants.

[Correspondent] Therefore, Council of Europe experts have been invited
to our country to debate the bill. The experts will be visiting
Azerbaijan from 16 to 18 September. One of the main points that Baku
is interested in is that although state television exists in former
Soviet republics and in many European countries, why the Council of
Europe demands that precisely Azerbaijan abolish state television.

[Hasanov] I should say frankly that the Council of Europe wants us to
be a guinea pig. Many of Azerbaijan’s neighbours have state television,
they exist and operate. There are even countries where several state
television channels operate. For example, in Turkey there is TRT 1,
TRT 2, TRT 3, TRT 4, and TRT International. Moreover, recently Star
TV was purchased by the Turkish government. Russia has several state
channels, so do Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

[Correspondent] Ali Hasanov added that the Council of Europe experts
in conversation with him had acknowledged that it was the first time
they had demanded that a country abolish state television and set
up public television instead. However, the government of Azerbaijan
believes that the Council of Europe has no authority to come up with
this kind of a demand.

[Hasanov] The issue of abolishing state television is not the subject
matter of this bill, this is not in the authority of the Council of
Europe experts and, in general, is not in the powers of the Council
of Europe. It is up to the president to preserve or abolish it.

[Correspondent] Hasanov also added that irrespective of the outcome
of the upcoming talks with the experts, the working group’s bill will
be sent to the parliament to be debated.

Rasad Huseynov, Mirtofiq Miralioglu for “Son Xabar”.

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