The Law on Cinematography (1998) provides a legal basis for cinematography as a particular form of art, regulates state funding, and covers measures to promote Azerbaijani films. Furthermore, the Law On accession to the European Convention on Joint Film Production (1999) provides vast opportunities for cooperation within Europe.
There are two primary laws on TV and radio: the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting (2002) and the Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting (2004).
The Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting (2002) determines legal, economic, and organisational bases for these spheres and inputs restrictions on television and radio broadcasting monopolies. It defines that state, municipal, private, and public broadcasters form the basis of the national television and radio system.
The law provides that:
- A private broadcaster may be established by citizens permanently residing in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and (or) legal entities whose authorised capital belongs to citizens permanently residing in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- Persons previously convicted of severe crimes and crimes against public morality, political parties and religious institutions, and so on may not be the founders of private television and radio broadcasting services.
Recent amendments urge:
- not to promote tobacco products and the process of tobacco use, as well as not to broadcast works, performances, programmes in which tobacco products and the process of tobacco use are demonstrated;
- not to disseminate information products in the country without ensuring the classification of information products by age following the Law on Protection of Children from Harmful Information and marking information products per the relevant age category.
The Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting (2004) outlines specific cultural obligations that public broadcasters must follow:
- recording of performances, feature, documentary and cartoon films, serials, works of art, important historical and cultural events on the works of Azerbaijani and world authors and keeping them in the golden fund of the public broadcaster for future generations;
- programmes should reflect national and spiritual values, national customs and traditions, all the diversity of culture and art.
The law states that:
- Public broadcasting programmes, as a rule, are broadcast in the state language;
- Programmes prepared in a foreign language must be accompanied by subtitles in the Azerbaijani language, except programmes taught and retransmitted in this language;
- Feature films, documentaries, speeches, et cetera must be translated into Azerbaijani;
- Public broadcasting programmes must include programmes in the languages of national minorities living on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
According to the article about “Requirements for public broadcasting programmes” of this law, “the programmes should prioritise the broadcasting of film, TV, video and radio products produced in Azerbaijan.”
The Law On Mass Media (1999) recognises the Internet as a type of media. In addition, the Internet is included on the list of telecommunications services regulated by the Law on Telecommunications (2005).
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