TV channel ANS shut down for intent to broadcast interview with Gulen

The broadcasting operations of ANS (Azerbaijani News Service) have ceased after the Attorney General of Azerbaijan requested the National Council on Radio and Television to place a temporary ban on their activities. 

The Council cited the channel’s intention to broadcast an interview with Fethullah Gulen on the 18th of July as proof that the company supported the coup in Turkey, reported interfax.az.

ANS Vahid Mustafayev with vice - president Mirshahin Aghayev were later summoned to the offices of the Attorney General to give evidence in response to the allegations made by the Council. 

The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies commented that the description of the coup by the channel as “a pre - planned show of the Turkish government” runs “contrary to the brotherly and friendly relations shared between the two countries.” 

Media rights defender, Rashid Hajili, in response to the order to cease and desist, commented on his personal Facebook page: 

“ANS’ broadcasting activities have been illegally shut down. …And that, on the order of a neighboring country [Turkey]. Let those who don’t want to defend ANS defend themselves and their own values.” 

The interview with Fethullah Gulen can be seen here below in Turkish: 

Currently, the offices of ANS have been cordoned off by Sabail district police and company employees have been unable to enter the premises, reports Trend News Agency. 

ANS was was one of the first and most successful private and independent television channels of Azerbaijan in the 1990s, and later expanded into print and radio mediums. 

ANS vice president Mirshahin Aghayev apologized in a statement given to APA: 

“On behalf of our collective, I ask President Ilham Aliyev, who has always supported the free press, that in honor of July 22, Free Press Day, he surprise our millions of viewers and colleagues and allow us to continue our activities.”

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