Shut-down Azerbaijani TV company’s property at risk
The ANS group of companies have released a statement saying that TV company assets, namely, its archive materials collected over the past 25 years, are at risk of being destroyed.
The TV Company’s doors were sealed off by law-enforcement back in July 2016, following the National Television and Radio Council’s decision to revoke ANS TV’s broadcasting license and criminal proceedings being launched by the General Prosecutor’s Office. The broadcaster has been accused of disseminating terrorism propaganda.
According to ANS, the archive materials require special storage conditions and, as the TV company staff have no access to preserve them properly, those materials may soon become worthless. The broadcaster’s costly equipment is also at risk of being damaged; even the cleaners aren’t allowed into the sealed part of the building.
ANS also points to gross copyright violations. “Having been deprived of air-time, our company has been continuously facing direct threats and pressure. There is a real struggle for carving-up our assets,” reads the statement.
ANS leadership is confident that it is going to vindicate its rights within the Azerbaijani and international legal framework.
– The ANS Independent Broadcasting Media Company was set up by brothers Vahid and Seyfulla Mustafayev, and journalist Mirshahin Agayev. It is regarded as Azerbaijan’s first independent TV company.
– The broadcaster won particular renown during the Karabakh war, when Chingiz Mustafayev (the company founders’ older brother), a war reporter, was covering the war developments and was killed on the front-line in 1992.
– Throughout the period of its activity, the TV company has had its broadcasting licence revoked three times. It was first off the air for a couple of months in 1993, during Elchibey’s ruling, then again in November 2006 – for 17 days and it was finally shut down in July 2016, after announcing an interview with Fetullah Gulen, a disgraced US-based Turkish cleric, who was accused of masterminding the 15 July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.