Feb 2, 2007

Azeri viewers: “I want my ORT”

The Azerbaijan television wars continue. First it was the BBC, then Voice of America, RFE/RL, and the Turkish Kanal D. Now Baku is set to pull the plug on Russian television.

"Which channels will we watch now?" complained Sanubar Allahverdiyeva. "The quality of Azerbaijani television leaves much to be desired."

Of course, the ban on Russian TV comes with a not-so-subtle escape clause: “Russia can allow Azerbaijan’s state-run AzTV to broadcast free-of-charge within Russia, and the same courtesy will be extended to ORT and RTR-Planeta.” Better yet, Russian broadcasters can sign on with an Azerbaijani cable provider and Baku will make the problem go away (EurasiaNet).

Meanwhile, satellite dish providers in the country are primed to make windfall profits, as it is hard to find anyone in the country who wants to watch government-owned or influenced programming.

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