Accountability systems

The Code of Professional Ethics for Journalists of Azerbaijan was adopted during the First Congress of Azerbaijani Journalists on 15 March, 2003. On 1 November, 2018 a revised version from a gender equality perspective was approved by the Azerbaijan Press Council, introducing Principle 4, which was developed within the Council of Europe’s Project Gender equality and media freedom in Azerbaijan. The Code holds journalists accountable and requires them to correct their mistakes at soonest. While correcting the information, they are supposed to clarify whether the information was inaccurate in whole or in part.

The National Television and Radio Council is the body responsible for ensuring the accountability of the broadcasting sector. Among the duties of the Council are “regulating the activities of television and radio broadcasting, protecting their independence and the public interests, and exercising control over the observance of the legislation on television and radio broadcasting.” In practice, accountability has not increased. It is stated in the Mass Media Law that print media ownership must be disclosed publicly. Yet, the transparency of the media’s financial resources or reporting policies is not regulated by any law. Moreover, the transparency of meetings, agendas and decisions of the National Television and Radio Council are not regulated. It is worthy to note that there are no mechanisms in place to ensure the prudent control of public funds of the national broadcaster. In 2011, AzTV, the official broadcaster, received a fund of AZN35m (US$44.5m), excluding advertisement fees, but did not report about the usage of the budget.

It is almost impossible to get comprehensive information about the ownership of certain media outlets, especially in the case of private broadcasters. ANS TV was the only commercial broadcaster that has disclosed information about its founding ownership. This TV is closed now. Major media outlets do not disclose their financial statements.