Can the public find out who owns the media through free access to the essential information required?
It is not possible to find out who owns the media Azerbaijan through media-specific or company law. Since June 2012, amendments to the Law on the Registration of Legal Entities, on Commercial Secrecy and the Law on Obtaining of Information mean that information about corporate owners and their shareholdings have been declared commercial secrets and deleted from public websites.
Even without these amendments, it would not be possible to find out who owns the media since the provisions which regulate both print and broadcast media ownership are vague and require very little ownership information to be disclosed.
There is a lack of political will to increase transparency of media ownership in Azerbaijan as both print and broadcast media are controlled by those wielding political power, both editorially and financially. Most print media are under indirect control of those close to government who provide financial support to a sector which has low circulation and struggles financially. The established practice (not the law) for broadcast media is that the Government strictly controls ownership and any changes of ownership of broadcast media. The media authority would never enforce sanctions against broadcast media without the order of the Presidential Administration.
DRAFT – FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION: This research has been carried out by national experts and is open for consultation. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, or if you spot any errors or omissions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.