As of 9 February 2022, Law No 471-VIQ, dated 30 December 2021, On Mass Media (the "Law") came into effect.

The Law defines audio-visual media as media that provide television and radio broadcasting, including custom broadcasting services to a user in an audio and (or) visual form by various technical methods and means.

Furthermore, an audio-visual media activity is subject to licensing one and, consequently, as of 15 April 2022, certain changes were introduced to Law No 176-VQ, dated 15 March 2016, On Licenses and Permits, and Law No 223-IIQ, dated 4 December 2001, On State Duty.

Pursuant to the above changes, the following audio-visual media activities as prescribed by the Law are licensable, subject to the relevant state duties:

Audio-Visual Media Activity State Duty (AZN)
nationwide terrestrial television broadcaster 5,000
nationwide terrestrial radio broadcaster 2,500
regional terrestrial television broadcaster 1,500
regional terrestrial radio broadcaster 500
satellite broadcaster 2,500
broadcaster that does not perform satellite broadcasting 1,500
subscription broadcasting service provider 500
simple platform operator 1,500
universal platform operator 2,500
multiplex operator 2,500

Licensing of nationwide and regional terrestrial television and radio broadcasters, satellite broadcasters and multiplex operators is carried out on a competitive basis by the Audio-Visual Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan (the "Council"). The fee to participate in the competitive selection is equal to two percent of the state duty prescribed for a relevant license and is non-refundable.

Licensing of other audio-visual activities is carried out based on individual applications.

An issued license may be suspended in the following cases:

  • pursuant to an applicant's request;
  • if a license holder fails to comply with the instructions of the Council to eliminate violations of the Law and the decisions of the Council; and
  • if an infrastructure operator appeals to the Council that a relevant service fee has not been paid during six months (applicable in case of a terrestrial broadcaster).

The Law also provides for cases of revocation of a license and includes among others the following:

  • an applicant's request;
  • a court decision;
  • bankruptcy of a license holder;
  • upon removal of the activity from the list of activities requiring a license;
  • if a broadcast is not carried out within six months of obtaining a license;
  • if a broadcast is not carried out for thirty consecutive days or sixty days within a year (apart from cases of suspension by the Council); and
  • if a license holder is held administratively liable in relation to audio-visual broadcasting at least five times a year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.