Fox TV-Turkey taken off the air in Azerbaijan

Broadcasts of Turkish broadcaster Fox TV-Turkey ceased in Azerbaijan late the night of February 22, 2017, hours after a presenter mocked President Ilham Aliyev’s appointment of his wife as the country’s first vice-president, Azerbaijani and Turkish media reported.

In a February 22 news broadcast, Fox TV-Turkey presenter Fatih Portakal sarcastically questioned the democratic nature of first lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment to the newly created post of vice-president.

Aile TV, one of Azerbaijan’s leading cable television operators, on February 22 said Azerbaijan’s broadcast regulator, the NTRC, was responsible for the move, according to the news website

According to the local media reports, Gafar Jabiyev, deputy director of the NTRC, which oversees foreign broadcasts, denied the regulator played a role in the censorship, saying the move was “the internal affair of cable operators.”

Turkish media quoted Azerbaijani legislator Adil Aliyev, who is not related to the president, as saying that Portakal’s wording “caused a great discomfort in people of Azerbaijan.”

NTRC officials and representatives of Aile TV and KATV, Azerbaijan’s leading cable TV companies, did not respond to CPJ’s requests for further information or repeated phone calls.