At present there are more than 4 500 registered mass communication media, most of which are newspapers and more than 80 are services in TV and radio broadcasting. Only 15% of newspapers and magazines were founded by government structures, and more than 65% of newspapers belong to oppositional political and social organisations, private structures and legal entities. Anti-trust measures, to prevent media concentration, are foreseen by the Law on Anti-monopoly Activity (1993), which gives a legal basis for protecting all officials and subjects of the market economy including mass-media from state, area, local, financial-credit, patent-license, spontaneous and other types of monopoly. There is no limitation in obtaining official information from government structures; it is the responsibility of the relevant press services to supply the public with official news.
There are no special arts and culture TV channels, but operating channels, depending on their broadcasting policy, offer a variety of regular programme series with cultural and artistic content, ranging from popular pop-shows to programmes on classical heritage. The international non-profit organisation “Internews Azerbaijan” has specific training programmes for journalists. It offers regular seminars, technical training (with more than 50 seminars since 1997, attended by more than 500 professionals) and targeted consultations, aimed at strengthening the professional skills of Azeri journalists and editors.
The National TV-Radio Broadcasting Council was established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe in January 2003. The Council’s responsibilities are to realise state policy in the TV and radio broadcasting fields, issue licences to broadcasting channels and monitor their activities according to the Law on TV and Radio Broadcasting (2004).
The Press Council was established in March 2003 at the time of the first congress of Azerbaijani journalists. The main functions of this independent council, which acts without any interference from the state and is directed by journalists, are regulation relationships between the press and individuals, as well as private companies, monitoring newspapers, and implementation of the Ethic Code regulations developed by the Council of Journalists.
The Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting, which is based on the principles of transparency, impartiality and public interest, was adopted in 11 September 2004. In order to provide society with fair and impartial information and express the interests of different social groups, each of the following nominated two candidates to the Parliament to form the Broadcasting Council, which was established in March 2005: the Azerbaijan Trade Union Confederation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Press Council, youth organisations, woman’s societies, sports federations, religious groups and creative organisations. The opening ceremony of the Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company took place on 29 August 2005.
On 31 July 2008, The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed a special Decree on the adoption of the Conception on state support to the development of mass communication media in the Republic of Azerbaijan and a Decree on rendering one-time finance assistance to the mass communication media of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism conducts enhancement of information provision of cultural policies by conducting methodological research and public opinion polls, holding specialised conferences, seminars, etc; generating databases, drafting and implementing relevant conceptions, programmes and projects; presenting information about national arts and culture in national and international mass media and the Internet.