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IRFS hosts international conference on broadcast freedom

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 24 February 2011, an international conference entitled "Broadcasting Freedom in Azerbaijan: The Need for Reform" was held within the framework of the "Free Airwaves" project, financed by the European Commission and implemented by IRFS and the Media Rights Institute.

Roland Kobia, head of the European Union delegation to Azerbaijan, noted that democracy and freedom of expression were fundamental values underlying relations between the EU and Azerbaijan. "The EU never demands anything from the government other than the implementation of the obligations they have undertaken," Kobia said.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Baku Office representative Jacqueline Carpenter spoke about the importance of broadcasting freedom. "We support monitoring of the media in Azerbaijan. Even before the 7 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, we had allocated resources for NGOs to monitor the media. As a result of these projects, negative trends in TV broadcasting were revealed," Carpenter noted.

IRFS Head Emin Huseynov informed conference attendees that the "Free Airwaves" project implementation lasted 22 months. According to Huseynov, though the main donor was the European Commission, the next phase of the project received financial support from the OSCE Baku Office, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Council of Europe and the German Marshall Fund.

The opening speeches were followed by thematic discussions.

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Read a full report of the conference
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