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Supporting public service broadcasting in Azerbaijan

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For more content, see Security and Human Rights.

Public broadcasting is under the spotlight in the south Caucasus. To meet a commitment to develop genuine public service broadcasting as one of the conditions for joining the Council of Europe, the government of Azerbaijan decided on the bold experiment of introducing a brand new public service broadcaster, the Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, or ITV for short. ITV has provided the public with an alternative to the existing state and commercial broadcasters. But how well has it succeeded? Following criticism from international and local observers that ITV was too close to the Government and not sufficiently independent, the OSCE commissioned an outside review of ITV's operations and programming. The OSCE has been at the forefront of civil society efforts to ensure that ITV meets the Council of Europe's requirements and fulfils its public service mandate. The independent review was carried out by the BBC World Service Trust which concluded that the criticisms were justified in some respects, and ITV's journalism in particular needed to be more robust and editorially balanced. But they also found much to praise about the new broadcaster. This article looks at their findings and what will happen next.

Affiliations: 1: Director General of Radio Television Kosovo


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