Saturday, November 1, 2008

Waiting for the clampdown

Colleagues write me disturbing news from Azerbaijan today. The Azerbaijan government will shut down Azerbaijani-language broadcasts by Radio Liberty and BBC in 2009. Voice of America broadcasts will also be shut down. The explanation?

According to AFP:

"Azerbaijan is not interested in the broadcasting of foreign channels on its national frequencies," said Nushirvan Magerramli, chairman of the State Council for Television and Radio broadcasting.

Obviously, this is disturbing - but not surprising. Everyone watching the elections in Azerbaijan expected that the landslide victory by President Ilham Aliyev would be followed by repression and unpopular measures. Now, maintaining the facade of democracy is even less important.