Official says president cannot influence decision on ANS shutdown
President Ilham Aliyev cannot interfere with the broadcasting council’s decision last week to close down ANS TV, the head of the President’s Office socio-political department, Ali Hasanov, has said. He was commenting on Monday’s appeal forwarded by a group of renowned public figures to the president, requesting to resume the broadcaster’s operation.
Hasanov said the authorities could issue only political commentary on any given issue.
“The head of state, as a person carrying out all executive duties in Azerbaijan, bears responsibility for all the developments taking place in the country. But there are certain areas where laws do not leave any room for political comments.”
Hasanov said TV and radio broadcasting in the country is overseen by an independent entity, the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council. While its decisions cannot be questioned, their enforcement is important. From this standpoint, those discontent with the decisions can only take the case to court.
The official added that the president is not in charge of recalling any members of the broadcasting council or imposing any sanctions on them.
ANS was shut down on Friday. The Council explained the measure by the broadcaster’s failure to note numerous official warnings and violations of law.*