Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan have their own schools and cultural centers, as well as numerous mass media and Internet resources.
In our country about 50 non-governmental organizations, cultural centers, charitable organizations and other public associations the activity of which is directly connected with the ethnic minorities, operate in Azerbaijan. In languages of the ethnic minorities living in Azerbaijan, more than 30 newspapers and magazines are published, while their number in the Russian language is 15.Of them, “Oko” (“Eye”) is published in the Russian, “Tolişhi sədo” (Voice of Talysh”) in the Talysh language, “Dənqe kürd” (“The Kurd’s voice”) - in the Kurdish language, “Samur” - in the Lezgin language, “Shalale” (“Waterfall”) - in Gakh region with the articles in Georgian language, etc. TV channels of Azerbaijan prepare and broadcast numerous materials about ethnic-cultural life and ethnography of ethnic minorities. 5 local TV and radio channels function in the regions where ethnic minorities compactly live.
The “Araz” radio station systematically broadcasts news in various languages. Programs of this radio station are transmitted in Russian daily, in Georgian – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, in the Kurdish language – on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the Talysh language – on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in Armenian – on Mondays and Saturdays every week.
The right of ethnic minorities to enjoy broadcast media is in detail reflected both in the international documents and in programs of the TV companies (both in state and public) functioning in other countries.
The Azerbaijani state does not interfere with creation of the free press of ethnic minorities at all. The official newspapers, which are directly state-owned bodies, publish materials about the life, customs and traditions of ethnic minorities.
The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic “On Public TV and Radio Broadcasting” was adopted on September 28, 2004. The Law specifically deals with the use of various languages in TV and radio broadcasting, as well as preparation of reliable and balanced information aimed at providing common interests of both society and separate segments of the population. It covers social, scientific, educational, cultural, entertaining and other spheres, reflection of freedom of thought and speech, different views and beliefs, and creation of conditions to disseminate specified information. The Article 12.3 of the mentioned Law says that programs of public broadcasting include also broadcasting in languages of the ethnic minorities living in the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic. According to the Article 13.2, the programs should consider all variety of national cultural values, national customs and traditions, cultures and arts.
According to the Article 10 of the Law “On Mass Media”, it is not allowed to use mass media for the purpose of promotion of national, racial, social discord or intolerance.
According to the Article 7.0.7 of this Law “On Public TV and Radio Broadcasting”, blackout of the programs propagandizing religious and racial discrimination is defined as an obligation of the public broadcaster.
According to the Article 11.5 of the Law “On TV and Radio Broadcasting”, the National Council of TV and Radio Broadcasting implement control of inadmissibility of similar promotion in the sphere of TV and radio broadcasting.
From the moment of creation of Public Television of Azerbaijan there is a Department of Broadcasting of Ethnic Minority Programs in this company.Thanks to the democratic and tolerant policy of the Azerbaijani state, the Public Television, for the first time in TV space of the country, brings to wider public the examples of material culture and national life of the people and ethnic groups, who throughout many centuries live in the country. The Public TV prepares and televise programs on the life of even those people and ethnic groups which live in one or several settlements of Azerbaijan and the number of representatives does not exceed several thousand people), acquaints world community with this rich ethnic variety. Besides, the audience with great interest watches the programs represented by this Department: “Körpü” (“Bridge”), “Bura vətəndir” (“It is our Motherland”), "Danışan tarix” (“The Speaking History”), etc.
The programs prepared by talented journalists and directors widely reflect data on the history, customs and traditions, religion, language, culture, folklore and cuisine of ethnic minorities, the small people and ethnic groups. The programs devoted to the ethnic minorities, the small people and ethnic groups with specific place on the ethnic map of Azerbaijan – the Tats and Lezgins living in the northern region of the country, the Talyshes living in the southern region, the Lezgins, Avars, ingiloys, akhvakhets (an ethnic group of Avars) living in different ethnic variety in Zaqatala and Gakh regions, the Tsakhurs belonging to the Lezgin group of the Caucasian languages family of Azerbaijan, the Udis living in Gabala region, the Mountain Jews throughout centuries living in the atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood with the Azerbaijani people, the Ahiska Turks (Meskhetian Turks) who live with great love for the country and have endured heavy deprivations in the XX century, several times undergone deportation, representatives of the ethnic minorities living in our country - Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Georgians, Tatars, and also representatives of other people, who forever bound their fate with our homeland, with great interest are welcomed not only by representatives of these people, but also the entire Azerbaijani society.
The daily morning program “Yeni Gün” (“New Day”) presents “the song bouquet” in languages of various peoples living in our country. The staff of “Jarchifilm” Department almost monthly prepares and represents to the audience movies about the life, culture and lifestyle of the small peoples.
According to the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic “On TV and Radio Broadcasting” of June 25, 2002, TV and radio broadcasting in the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic is performed based on the special permission (license) issued in connection therewith by the Law. Special permission (license) is the unique legal document in the field of TV and radio broadcasting containing also information on language (languages) of TV and radio broadcasting.
Media in Azerbaijan is of great importance in preserving languages of ethnic minorities and creation of conditions of international tolerance.
Local TV channels function in regions of compact residence of ethnic minorities, the programs financed from the state budget is regularly broadcast in Avar, Talysh, Georgian, Kurdish, Lezgin, Russian, Armenian and other languages.There are newspapers and magazines published in these languages.
Adoption of the “Orthographic rules of Azerbaijani Language”, approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic (No. 108 of August 5, 2004), “The program of providing secondary schools in the Azerbaijan Republic with information and communication technologies (2005-2007)”, approved by the Order of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic (No. 355 of August 21, 2004), are necessary legislative measures to strengthen the role of Azerbaijani language.
In accordance with the paragraph 2.2 of this Program, to achieve the goals set in the Program and ensure the use of common information space, it is necessary to solve problems of development, distribution and application in educational process of the modern electronic educational materials, electronic textbooks, e-libraries, digital educational resources in the Azerbaijani language. It also necessitates development and application of scientific terminology on the sphere of information and communication technologies in educational-scientific and methodical editions in the Azerbaijani language.
There are 16 local TV channels in Azerbaijan.5 foreign radio stations operate in the county - “Azadlıq” (“Freedom”), “Amerikanın səsi" (“Voice of America”), BBC, “Rossiya”, “France-Presse”). The Azerbaijani State Radio monthly broadcasts programs in languages of ethnic minorities in following volume: in the Talysh language (1.20 minutes), in the Kurdish language (1. 20 minutes), in the Lezgin language (1. 20 minutes), in Georgian language (2. 40 minutes), in Armenian (1.30 minutes), and in Russian language (15 hours).
The total amount of the news, which is monthly aired on the state television of Azerbaijan (AzTV) in Russian language makes more than 15 hours.
The daily volume of the transmissions in Russian language broadcast on the territory of all country on private TV channels “Lider” “Azad Azerbaijan” and “Space”, makes 25-30% of all volume of broadcasting on these TV channels. The volume of the transmissions in Russian language broadcast on regional TV channels (in the country there are 10 regional channels), makes 25-40%.
Local TV channels functioning in the areas of compact residence of ethnic minorities are “Khachmaz TV” - in Khachmaz region, “Khayal TV” and “Gutb TV” - in Guba, “Canub TV" - in Lankaran, “Aygun TV” - in Zaqatala.
The Balaken region the local radio broadcasts its programs in Avar language, the Khachmaz region - in Lezgin and Tat languages.
Besides, on the music, documentary and ethnographic programs broadcast both on state and private TV-radio channels, widely are used languages of ethnic minorities.
The National Council of TV and Radio Broadcasting recommends to the TV and radio transmitters to be respectful to the rights of ethnic minorities, and gives preference to those from the newly created TV-radio channels that widely use the languages of ethnic minorities.
From December 1 to December 31, 2002 and from January 15 to February 15, 2003 within the project “South Caucasian Connections and Civil Solidarity” project financed by the European Commission, there was held monitoring of quantity and the essence of the materials about ethnic minorities published in the domestic press. During monitoring, it became clear that among the newspaper publications relating to the research subject along with materials of general-theoretical and historical character, there were also articles containing information on the current situation of ethnic and religious communities, on the events held by public organizations, etc. In materials of the Azerbaijani mass media, the attention is in a varying degree paid to all main problems of ethnic minorities. Most often, there are publications containing information on Kurds, Lezgins, Jews and Talyshes. Also there were 1-2 materials in which it was talked of Tats, Avars, Tsakhurs, the ingiloys, Georgians, Germans and other ethnic minorities. At the press conference devoted to the results of this monitoring, the Council of Europe rapporteur on Azerbaijan Martinez Kassan has stated: “During meetings with representatives of ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan I was absolutely convinced that they consider themselves as full citizens of the country. They are happy with the situation. A good bright example is the Udis who cooperate with the government of Azerbaijan for protection of their cultural heritage. The government of Azerbaijan has allocated funds for development of their culture”.
In Baku, the Azerbaijani State Publishing House (Azerneshr) has a special department for the edition of books in languages of ethnic minorities. This department has published hundreds of scientific and fictions in the Talysh language.
The Azerbaijani-Israeli Friendship Society, “Aziz”, issues a newspaper titled “Azerbaijan-Israel”, and the “Edinstvo” Society (“Birlik”) in the Red Settlement in Guba region, releases a magazine titled “Gudyal”.
The “Dənqe kürd” newspaper (“Kürdün səsi” – “The Kurd’s voice”) issued in Azerbaijan publishes verses and articles about the literature and history of Kurds.
In accordance with “The Concept of the State Support for Development of Mass Media in the Azerbaijan Republic” approved by the Order of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic of July 31, 2008, since 2009 two times a year – on the eve of the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and New Year, and also on the eve of Novruz Holiday, the Fund of State Support for Development of Mass Media conducts individual competitions among journalists on the subject “Religious and National Tolerance, Development of the Inter-Ethnic Relations”. So far, hundreds articles have been submitted on these competitions and were awarded.
The Azerbaijani state, without allowing any discrimination, takes all necessary measures for a consecutive and sustainable development of the activity of ethnic minorities, including in press.