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Council of Europe Concerned About Azerbaijan Radio Plan

A top Council of Europe official has expressed concern about Azerbaijan's plans to cut off local retransmission of foreign broadcasts, including those of Voice of America.

Council Secretary General Terry Davis Tuesday said while on an official visit to Baku that the Azerbaijani government must honor freedom of expression.

Azerbaijan's government said a long-standing law bans local stations from broadcasting foreign programs. It said all such broadcasts - including VOA, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and the British Broadcasting Corporation - will stop on January 1.

Last week, U.S. lawmakers said in a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that more Azerbaijanis have access to radios than other broadcast sources.

The letter called programs, such as VOA, impartial and innovative and said Azerbaijanis need them to stay informed and competitive.

The Council of Europe brings together lawmakers from all democratic European countries to review various issues, including implementation of human rights.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.