Closed TV Channel ANS Appeals to Deceased, Former President Heydar Aliyev

Azerbaijani TV channel ANS has appealed to deceased, former president Heydar Aliyev for help in reinstating their broadcasting license.

Back during the Turkish attempted coup of July of 2016, ANS had planned to run an interview with Fethullah Gulen – a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States who was later accused by Turkey of organizing the coup and promoting terrorism.

The National Television and Radio Council of Azerbaijan (NSTR) suspended the channel's broadcasting license several days later on July 18, 2016, accusing ANS of propaganda against Turkey and of supporting Fethullah Gülen.

Despite appeals to President Ilham Aliyev, the channel’s broadcasting license has not been reinstated since. ANS recently announced its intentions to take its case to the European Court of Human Rights in April of 2017.

Now, the TV channel’s administration has written a letter of appeal to Azerbaijan’s former president Heydar Aliyev who passed away in 2003.

The appeal begins:

“Our great friend and leader! May you rest in peace! We apologize for disturbing your spirit. But we had no other way out. You told us on a number of occasions that should we find ourselves in trouble, we should appeal to you. Now is that time.”

ANS’ management also wrote: “Our voice does not reach the president, whom we always consider a friend and brother, a guarantor of democratic freedoms”.

The appeal then lists the merits of the television channel, which its creators call "a model of honesty and decency."

Referring again to Heydar Aliyev, the authors of the appeal note, "We are following your path… When you were among us, we called you Person of the Year, and now we appeal to you as a Person of Eternity. Again, we really need your help”, the appeal reads.

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У нас есть небольшая к вам просьба. В среде, где информация находится под жестким государственным контролем, Мейдан ТВ усердно работает над тем, чтобы обеспечить доступ к качественной независимой журналистике. Мы проливаем свет на истории, которые вы иначе не прочитали бы, так как мы считаем, что те, кто не может высказаться, заслуживают быть услышанными, а те, кто находится у власти, должны быть привлечены к ответственности. Мы вкладываем в это значительное время, усилия и ресурсы, поэтому нам нужна ваша помощь.

Ваша поддержка дает возможность нашим смелым журналистам, многие из которых работают под большой угрозой своей личной свободе и безопасности, продолжать свою деятельность. Каждый вклад в защиту независимой журналистики в Азербайджане имеет значение. Спасибо.

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