Tuesday, May 24, 2016

RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

In an environment of total government control over national media, Radio Azadliq has built a solid reputation as the only independent media outlet in Azerbaijan.


Fast Facts

  • Language: Azerbaijani
  • Established: 1953
  • Distribution: Radio (satellite), Satellite TV (Hotbird 8, Asiasat 7); Internet (Azeri/Russian website, mobile, YouTube), social media
  • Coverage: Radio: 12 hours per week original, TV: 3.5 hours per week original.
  • Locations: Prague
  • Staff: 11 (Prague), 21 stringers



Media Environment


    • On December 5, 2014, investigative reporter and RFE/RL contributor Khadija Ismayilova was jailed on charges that are widely considered to be retribution for her journalistic work. Ismayilova has also been the target of a long-running smear campaign in the pro-government Azerbaijani media.
    • On December 26, 2014, Azerbaijani police raided and sealed RFE/RL's Baku Bureau; journalists working for RFE/RL in Azerbaijan continue to be harassed by Azerbaijani officials.
    • Since December 2008, all international broadcasters including Radio Azadliq, the BBC and Voice of America are banned from broadcasting on local FM and MW frequencies.


    • Investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova and RFE/RL contributor was awarded the 2015 "Barbara Goldsmith Freedom To Write Award" by PEN American Center and the 2012 ”Courage in Journalism” prize by the International Women’s Media Foundation. Ismayilova and RFE/RL journalist Nushabe Fatullayeva won the 2013 "Global Shining Light" award by the Global Investigative Journalism Network.
    • In 2014, Baku Bureau News Editor Arifa Kazimova won the country’s top journalism prize, the Zardabi Award, which is presented by the independent Azerbaijani Union of Journalists.
    • In 2013, the service’s Facebook page, which has more than 165,000 fans, was declared the best social media site of the year by MilliNet. In 2012, the service’s website won the MilliNet award for best news website.
    • Radio Azadliq’s investigative reports on Azeri ministers' family businesses and offshore account holders linked to President Ilham Aliyev’s family were widely cited by major US and UK media.
    • A January 2012 Radio Azadliq expose of traffic policemen openly soliciting bribes in central Baku went viral and led to the police officers being thrown off the force.
    • Radio Azadliq’s award-winning satire program “250plyus,” one of the Service's most popular programs, is actively shared over social networks.
    • Usage of Radio Azadliq YouTube content jumped 100-fold in 2012 after the Service launched a weekly TV program on the Turksat satellite and daily live video streams on YouTube and its website.


    updated: 11 November 2015


Facts & Stats

9.417 million (World Bank estimate, 2013)

Most Common Languages:
Azeri, Armenian, Russian, Lezgi, 

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 188 out of 199 (2015)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
162 out of 180 (2015)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
123 out of 175 (2014)

Global Peace Index (IES):
123 out of 162 (2014)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Azerbaijan (2015)

Amnesty International:
Azerbaijan Report (2014/2015)

Meet RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

Vusala Alibayli poses for a mugshot.

Service Snapshot: Vusala Alibayli

RFE profiles Vusala Alibayli, host of "250 Seconds+", a popular satire show produced by RFE's Azerbaijani Service. More