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Digital Television to Cover 85 Percent of Azerbaijan by 2012

Until January 2012, digital TV will cover 85 percent of the population of Azerbaijan, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan, Elmir Velizadeh, said in an interview posted on the official website of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party.

He said the population will have an access to the public television package, consisting of 10 television channels and in the future – will be offered a commercial package of 50-60 channels.

Currently, digital television covers Baku, Ganja, Shirvan, Lerik, Lankaran and nearby areas. Analog transmissions will be suspended after full coverage of the Republic with digital signal TV.



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Criminal Case Against Journalist Goes To Court

The Sharur district prosecutor’s office has completed its investigation in the criminal case against Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev on charges of stealing electricity (Article 189-1.1). Mehdiyev is a regional correspondent with the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). On Monday, he was presented the indictment. “Prosecutor Kamil Shukurov asked me to “indemnify” the AZN 1050.18 to cause the criminal case to be stopped. I refused because I did not steal any electricity,” Mehdiyev told Turan. A copy of the indictment has not been given to either him or his lawyer Asabali Mustafayev, who arrived from Baku.

“All testimonies are written in the same way, like a template. Moreover, the witnesses are the local leaders – the head of a municipality, a representative of the executive power, the head of the electricity grid’s sale department, the deputy executive of the area, and even the local akhund (mullah),” Mehdiyev said. On July 15 the local authorities stopped the supply of electricity to Mehdiyev’s house in the Jalilkend village of the Sharur district under the pretext of its illegal use. However, all the electricity used has been paid for, and Mehdiyev has the proof. However, the family has lived without electricity for 24 days. ”Now we’ve been given light, but the voltage is very low and it is not enough even to turn the pump in the well,” Mehdiyev said. 

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Iran Sentences U.S. Journalist and Enviromentalis to Eight Years in Prison

Freelance journalist Shane Bauer and environmentalist Josh Fattal have been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for trumped-up charges of espionage and illegal entry into the country. The men were arrested two years ago while hiking near the poorly defined border between Iran and Iraq. Southern California native Sarah Shourd was also arrested, but has since been released.

The men’s families released a short statement yesterday, which reads in part:

Of the 751 days of Shane and Josh’s imprisonment, yesterday and today have been the most difficult for our families. Shane and Josh are innocent and have never posed any threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran, its government or its people.

The three hikers have strong California ties. Shroud grew up in Los Angeles, and lived in San Francisco after graduating from college. Bauer has written for the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. All are alumni of UC Berkeley.


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Ernest Vardanyan Imprisoned for 15 Years is Granted Pardon

President of the unrecognized Republic of Transnistria Igor Smirnov has granted pardon to Ernest Vardanyan. He told the media representatives about during a meeting on Press Freedom Day.

On December 16, 2010, the Supreme Court of the Moldovan Republic of Transnistria sentenced the 30-year-old journalist-analyst of RIA “New Region” Ernest Vardanyan to 15 years of imprisonment for espionage and state treason .

“Olvia-Press” news agency said, in April, 2010, the national security service of Transnistria arrested Ernest Vardanyan accusing him in state treason according to article 271 of the Criminal Code of Transnistria. The journalist allegedly cooperated with special services of Moldova.

According to “Olvia-Press” Transnistrian news agency, during preliminary investigation and court hearings Ernest Vardanyan regreted for his deeds and told how he had been made to cooperate with the special services’ agents.

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