VOA regrets airing unbiased anti-Azerbaijan program

By: Sara Rajabova

Following harsh criticism leveled by Azerbaijan, the Voice of America radio removed a documentary film about Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region aired on October 18.

Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Trend Agency that the Ministry reacted to the documentary on the fictional regime created in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories and the Azerbaijani Embassy in the U.S. sent a protest letter to the VOA management.

Hajiyev said the VOA Director David Ensor’s response included an apology for airing the documentary.

He said it was noted in the response that the program escaped from the editorial staff’s checking. Meanwhile, Ensor acknowledged that the program didn’t meet the standards of unbiased and impartial journalism.

Hajiyev added that VOA director said the video will be removed from the website of VOA’s Armenian service and a corresponding amendment will be soon posted on VOA’s website.

“All this has already been done. In the letter, Ensor expressed regret that the video violated the standards that the VOA is based on. It was also noted that in the future such cases would not be repeated,” Hajiyev added.

The video has already been removed from the website of the VOA’s Armenian service with a published piece saying:

“On October 18, 2014, the Armenian office of the Voice of America posted on its website a 10-minute video about the Nagorno-Karabakh, which doesn’t meet the standards of unbiased journalism of the Voice of America. We regret the violation of our standards and assure that the Armenian office of the Voice of America will continue to operate as a reliable and authoritative source of information.”

Hajiyev earlier said the removed program promotes separatism and aggression. He said a program, which doesn’t take into account and reflect the position of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as refugees and internally displaced persons who were expelled from their native lands as a result of the Armenian aggression, is unfair and biased.

The bloody war, which flared up in the late 1980s due to Armenia’s territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor, left over a million of civilians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the regions adjoining it, as well as the regions bordering with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh without homes.

They are temporarily settled in more than 1,600 settlements across 62 cities and regions of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis who had displaced from their homes as result of the brutal war were forced to live in refugee camps, tents and wagons in very difficult conditions.

Moreover, thousands of Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia and became refugees due to Armenia’s ethnic cleansing policy after the emergence of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan.

As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.

The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.


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