I have lost my morning companion. For the last nine months or so, I’ve had the habit of turning on the BBC while I make my tea and breakfast. Yesterday, I tried to find the station. I couldn’t. Just a variety of music stations. A couple of talk shows, broadcast in Azerbaijani, of course. But no BBC.
A talk with a colleague in the afternoon confirmed my hunch. The station is off the air. The government had threatened this action more than a month ago, and apparently it has followed through with its plan. The Azerbaijani language broadcasts - which included English lessons - had been the most objectionable for the government. But apparently the people in charge decided to just remove the whole station.
My colleague, a journalist, said the Radio Free Europe station - also affected by the government action - is still keeping its office space and employees, devoting its resources to developing its website. But a website is not a replacement for a radio station. I can’t drag my computer into the kitchen so that I can listen to a podcast while I make breakfast.
And what of all those students who depended on the stations for the English language lessons? Is diminishing the educational opportunities for Azerbaijanis really in the national interest?