The live broadcast of the panel discussion with participation of leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, held on February 18 on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, was interrupted on Azerbaijan State Television (AzTV) and Public TV. The broadcast stopped right after the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan talked about the democratic conduct of the elections in his country.
AzTV explained the interruption in a statement, claiming that the broadcast signal was cut off by the conference organizers. Mikroskop Media asked the conference organizers about the allegation and investigated whether there was a disruption in broadcasts in neighboring countries.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev too attended the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany and was part of the panel discussion titled “Moving Mountains? Building Security in the South Caucasus”. At the panel, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili also answered questions.
At the panel, the moderator, head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Hoysgen addressed questions to the participants and they answered in turn. At the end, journalists were given the opportunity to ask questions, but only one journalist – Yuliya Osmolovskaya from the GlobSec Kyiv office – was able to ask a question within the time allotted for the panel discussion. That question was addressed to the heads of all 3 countries, and they voiced their answers in turn.
The panel discussion was broadcasted live by Azerbaijani televisions, AzTV and Public TV. However, the broadcast was interrupted when Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan began speaking about the elections in his country after the war and how these elections were held in a democratic and free competitive environment. Besides, the broadcast on the official YouTube channel of the President of Azerbaijan was stopped at the same time.
The part where Pashinyan’s speech was interrupted on Azerbaijani television:
I’m proud that our government held free democratic elections in our country even after a terrible war. That election was recognized by the whole world as a free, transparent and democratic election. Our position is that democracy is the solution. The solution is transparency…Nikol Pashinyan
Shortly after the broadcast was stopped, the official statement issued by AzTV stated that the source of the interruption was the conference organizers, that is, they stopped the broadcast.
But what actually happened?
The conference was live streamed on several social media platforms along with its official website. In addition to Azerbaijan, the same panel discussion was also broadcasted live in Armenia and Georgia.
The streaming on the official Facebook page of the Munich Security Conference continued until the end of the discussion with no interruptions.
There was an interruption in the live streaming of the conference from Twitter and this too coincided with Pashinyan’s speech. However, the specific part of the interruption is different from the one on the Azerbaijani TVs. Here is a sentence with an interruption:
By the way, a Muslim community lives in our country, a mosque exists, and this is a reality. The Azerbaijani side uses words like capitulation, which are almost insulting. There is an impression that Azerbaijan has adopted a revenge policy.
The part of Pashinyan’s speech about the democratic elections comes a minute and a half after the above-mentioned sentence. That means , when the organizers’ streaming on Twitter was interrupted, the sentences in the interrupted part on AzTV were not voiced yet.
Streaming in Armenia
Several Armenian media also streamed the event live, and some of them were interrupted, but in different parts of the panel discussion. Some of those broadcasts:
Streaming at Radio Liberty’s Armenian service continued until the end of the panel discussion.
On the YouTube channel of Factor TV, another media outlet in Armenia, the panel was streamed up to the part where the Ukrainian journalist addressed questions to the participants. By this time, Pashinyan had finished his speech.
On Armenia Today too, the streaming was stopped in the part where the Ukrainian journalist asked question.
1in.am stopped streaming after Pashinyan and Garibashvili answered the Ukrainian journalist’s question.
Streaming in Georgia
The live streaming of this event in Georgia was carried out not only by the media, but also by the official Facebook pages of the government and the prime minister.
The broadcasting of Georgian Public Television continued until the end and there were no interruptions.
The meeting was streamed live on the official Facebook page of the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili with a direct translation into Georgian. The broadcast here was interrupted after the Ukrainian journalist asked question.
The official Facebook page of the Government of Georgia stopped streaming as soon as the country’s leaders started answering the journalist’s questions.
What do the organizers say?
Mikroskop Media sent an inquiry to the press service of the Munich Security Conference regarding the interruption. In response to the inquiry, it was said that since the discussion started late, there may have been technical problems related to the streaming on the official website. In the answer to the question about the interruption of the broadcast on AzTV, it was stated:
We assume that AzTV took the broadcast from our website, but we cannot confirm it.
As a result, the broadcast in different media services was interrupted in different parts of the discussion, only the broadcast on AzTV, ITV and the official YouTube channel of the President of Azerbaijan was stopped in the part where Pashinyan spoke about democracy.