LONDON — Broadcasting authorities in Azerbaijan have taken a Russian channel off air in a dispute over reciprocal transmission rights.
The former Soviet republic’s national television and radio broadcasting council said it had suspended transmission of Russian pubcaster RTR-Planeta from Tuesday because it lacked a broadcast license for the territory in 2008, according to wire agency reports in both Azerbaijani capital Baku and Moscow.
The move follows the failure of talks two weeks ago to agree a schedule for broadcasting Azerbaijan’ channel AzTV1 in Russian cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Astrakhan and Makhachala, Dagestan.
Talks foundered over Russian licensing rules that stipulate a minimum Russian investment of 50% in any television station that broadcasts on its territory.
The dispute has been simmering since the summer when Nushirevan Magerramli, chairman of the Azerbaijani broadcast council, warned RTR Planeta that a solution had to be found.
In July, another Russian pubcaster, the First Channel, that had broadcast in Azerbaijan was also taken off the air by authorities in Baku.
Talks to resolve the impasse between the broadcasting authorities of the two countries are planned within the next two weeks.
Last month, Vasily Istratov, Russia’s ambassador in Baku, said the matter was best resolved by technical and broadcast experts.