Azerbaijan Set to Ban Satellite Dishes, Clean Up Sides of Buildings
Despite Azerbaijan’s big push for building a new satellite to cover it’s communication needs and save (and even make) a bit of cash, the government is now taking aim at another set of satellites: TV satellite dishes. A report from Chris Forrester is circulating on websites dedicated to television and satellite dishes that describes how the Azerbaijani government is gearing up to outlaw satellite TV and dismantle satellite dishes ‘by force’:
“Preparations continue in Azerbaijan to switch to digital broadcasting. Once the switch to digital broadcasting happens, relevant government bodies will offer a package of about ten foreign TV channels and the broadcasting of the remaining channels will not be allowed. Once the switch to digital broadcasting is over, residents’ satellite dishes will be collected forcefully,” the minister added.
That sounds a little strange. Especially when you take into account the hoards of satellites poking out from houses and apartment buildings across the country. I would probably accept the argument that the government is attempting to rid their country of the eyesores hanging off the sides of every building. Even on that hike past remote villages in Lerik did we find those satellites pulling in TV signals. Aesthetics are probably not the consideration here, however.
This is definitely not good for the forces of free information. Much like the ban on international radio stations, such as Radio Azadlıq and Voice of America, this has more overtones of media control. I’ve said before that much of the Azerbaijani government’s actions are underpinned with the concept of control. Even controlling the names given to its citizens is on the table. For now, we still have probably hundreds of thousands of satellite dishes looming overhead, but it will be interesting to see if the Azeri population gets up in arms about the limits set on their Turkish soap operas and Russian reality TV.
Two last notes here: First, in the spirit of making the always-faulty slippery slope argument, what’s next? Controlling the internet? Second, I can’t seem to find the actual BBC Monitoring report that Chris Forrester cites. Maybe I need BBC Radio here or something…anyone else having this problem?