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OSCE Praises Return of Private Azerbaijan Stations


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe have praised a decision by Azerbaijani government regulators to allow the private Azerbaijani News Service to resume broadcasting.

Broadcasting resumed on ANS TV and radio stations for the first time since November 24, when authorities ordered them off the air. The same day, authorities evicted two opposition newspapers from their Baku offices.

The OSCE and the United States criticized the actions, saying they raised questions about Azerbaijan's commitment to freedom of speech.

Media regulators say ANS will have to submit bids for a broadcast license next year. If it does not win the bidding, another station may take over the current ANS frequencies.

The radio and television stations previously had rebroadcast programs by the BBC and Voice of America, but are now barred from doing so.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.