Radio Liberty Off The Air

Submitted by Admin on Fri, 12/26/2014 - 15:38

US Broadcasting Board of Governors Washington, D.C. headquarters examines in detail the function, structure and activities of the International Broadcasting Bureau. The IBB manages the transmission, distribution, digital media development, marketing, and support services for the U.S. international media networks. There has been an increase in the unwarranted and abusive attempt to intimidate US journalists & repress free media.

BBG condemns the raid and closure of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Baku office by Azerbaijani authorities. Investigators from Azerbaijan’s state prosecutor’s office entered the RFE/RL bureau on the morning of December 26 accompanied by armed police officers. They searched the company safe, ransacked files and equipment, and ordered staff members to leave the building after holding them in a room for several hours without telephone or computer access. Several staff members later were summoned for questioning.

“This unwarranted action is an escalation of the Azeri government’s abusive attempt to intimidate independent journalists and repress free media,” said BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. “We call on the authorities to immediately allow RFE/RL to resume its important journalistic work from Baku, and to release investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.”

The government raid comes three weeks after the arrest and detention in Baku of prominent Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service programming. Ismayilova was sentenced to two months of pre-trial detention, and if convicted could serve three to seven years in prison. Khadija’s arrest has been widely condemned, including by the BBG. Amnesty International has declared Ismayilova a prisoner of conscience, “detained solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression.”

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