Azerbaijan profile - Media

  • 11 November 2015
  • From the section Europe
Azeri newspapers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There is a wide choice of newspapers in Azeri, Russian and English

State-run and public media compete with private and opposition publications and broadcasters. TV is the most popular medium. A public broadcaster is intended to be free from government control.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says the media are highly polarised, with the private and opposition press coming under "continual pressure". RSF has placed President Aliyev on its list of "predators of press freedom".

In 2012, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists named Azerbaijan as being among "the top 10 global jailers of the press". Rights organisations complained in 2015 about the jailing of investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who had focused on businesses and offshore bank accounts allegedly linked to the family of the president.

Media freedom advocates have also urged the government to do more to solve the murders of four journalists in the decade up to 2015.

In August 2015 photojournalist Rasim Aliyev died in hospital after being beaten, apparently for criticizing a prominent football player.

"Aliyev's murder is the product of a culture of intolerance and impunity that the most senior officials have been fomenting for years," said Johann Bihr of Reporters Without Borders.

Newspaper distribution is largely limited to Baku. There is a small opposition press. Radio is mostly entertainment-based. Local relays of the BBC and US international radios were closed in late 2008 by the broadcasting regulator.

Turkey's state-run TRT TV is rebroadcast in Azerbaijan and Iranian and Russian channels can be seen in border areas. A surge in satellite dish and cable TV ownership means that many viewers can watch international channels.

There were 4.7 million internet users by June 2012 (InternetWorldStats). RSF reports that the internet, once a "free conduit" for activism, is coming under closer scrutiny by the authorities. It says social media networks risk being blocked, and several online activists have been imprisoned.

The opposition uses blogs to make political comment, and footage of protests and police actions has been uploaded to YouTube.

The press



News agencies/internet

  • Azartac - state-run, English-language pages
  • Turan - private, English-language pages
  • Trend - private, English-language pages
  • APA - private, English-language pages
  • - news website, in Russian