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Baku Threatens to Close Down BBC Azerbaijan Over Serj Tankian and Artak Beglaryan Interview

Baku Threatens to Close Down BBC Azerbaijan Over Serj Tankian and Artak Beglaryan Interview

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, has issued a stern warning to BBC Azerbaijan, threatening to shut down its operations if the international broadcaster fails to issue an apology for a recent interview featuring Serj Tankian and Artak Beglaryan.

The interview, which took place on BBC World News, featured Serj Tankian, the lead singer of System Of A Down, and Artak Beglaryan, former Adviser to the State Minister of Artsakh. During the interview, they discussed the dire consequences of the Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh, the urgent need for international sanctions against Azerbaijan, and the call for UN peacekeepers to prevent a recurrence of the Armenian Genocide. Tankian also emphasized the importance of the UK government shifting its stance from complicity to responsibility to prevent such atrocities.

Following the interview, the Press Council of Azerbaijan issued a statement accusing the BBC of engaging in "propaganda." The Council expressed its displeasure with the BBC's approach, deeming it "undesirable." Their statement included a clear ultimatum: "Either this media organization must learn to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country, offer apologies, and be capable of demonstrating its sincere intention through its practical actions, or its operations in Azerbaijan should be suspended, and its accreditation revoked."

Serj Tankian, responding to the controversy, commented on the situation. He stated, "This is how dictatorships without free press work. Azerbaijan is threatening to close down BBC Azerbaijan if the BBC World doesn't apologize for the interview that I did with Artak Beglaryan. They're really angry that after paying them all that money for tourist ads about Azerbaijan that they would dare talk about their Genocidal campaign in Artsakh."

Tankian continued, highlighting the gravity of the situation, saying, "When genocidal dictatorships are mad at something you've done, you know you're doing the right thing."

The developments surrounding the interview have raised concerns about press freedom and journalistic independence in Azerbaijan, with international observers closely monitoring the situation. The future of BBC Azerbaijan's operations in the country hangs in the balance pending a resolution to the escalating dispute.


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