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Will All The Armenians Please Stand Up!

This year's Armenian entry
The Azerbaijan Eurovision story just won't die down. The government is now criticizing media organizations, including RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, for political bias in their reporting.

Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov said on August 24 that some media organizations are trying to politicize the Azerbaijani government's questioning of Azerbaijani citizens who voted for the Armenian entry as their favorite song in May's Eurovision Song Contest.

RFE/RL reported two weeks ago that Rovshan Nasirli, a young Eurovision fan living in Baku, was summoned to the country's National Security Ministry to explain why he had voted for the Armenian song. Eurovision is investigating the incident.

Minister Rahimov said that RFE/RL showed "double standards" towards Azerbaijan in its coverage of the story, which he said leaves the ministry officials "bewildered."

It's news to her, but according to a semi-official news agency, RFE/RL's bureau chief in Baku, Khadija Ismayilova, was also one of the 43 Azerbaijani citizens to have voted for the Armenian song. Ismayilova says she did not vote at all in the contest.

And according to an article, "RFE/RL is a 'Cousin' of the Armenians," on a website run by pro-government parliament deputy Gudrat Hasanguliyev, one of Ismayilova's grandparents was ethnic Armenian.

Not that it matters of course if she was, but Ismayilova says her grandmothers were ethnic Azeri.

-- Azerbaijan Service

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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