– This is the first Azerbaijani telecast airing on foreign TV channel in around Europe. How did this begin and how did it happen?
– This is a first experience to us, not only in Europe but in the entire world. In fact, it began years ago. I was on a work trip in Berlin in 1994. One thing that captured my attention while I was getting acquainted with film industry was a Persian telecast being aired in a local cable TV channel. Later I learned that this TV channel was broadcasting telecasts of many foreign origin. There was a Turkish one too. Next time I went to Berlin MHP members offered me a job when they learned I am a TV director. In other words they wanted me to help them direct telecasts on public TV channel. I stayed there for around 2 months and we managed to match the quality of the shows to that of a program. Later via “Internews-Azerbaijan” we traveled to the USA and we found a similar TV channel in New York. On that same channel many shows in foreign languages were being aired. Of course, we would also like to have a telecast like this. I have lived many years wishing this.
– Finally, you arrived in Sweden…
– Correct, I immediately took interest on that same channel in Sweden. We learned that the quality is higher there. Both the audiences and organizations presenting their work are of different status. In Germany and USA main audiences of these channels are foreigners, in Sweden it is locals. Public TV channels here are listed as official channels here. And while on air it is paid for. Main audience of this channel is local Swedes and very few other foreign channels match this level.
– Who, for example?
Majority of the content is propaganda of religious centers, political parties, non-government organisations, universities and certain registered foreign federations. In Sweden only the organisations that are at least one year old are given a place in public television. It has been over a year since we built “Stockholm Azerbaijani center of culture”. Our center has completed many interesting projects in a short time span. In Spring our Board of Directors suggested something: Why not have our own telecast on public television? We have who are young, educated and diverse around us and should use their potential productively. And so we thought and acted.
– Which frequencies will these shows be aired on? Who will be the audience? What will be the language and theme of the content?
”Öppna Kanalen” – this is what public television is called here – broadcasts over cable like the other channels. Every internet user in Sweden can also watch cable television. Meaning every operator has its own cable frequency and TV pack on this frequency includes not only SVT1, SVT2, TV4, TV24, etc., but also ”Öppna Kanalen”. This means an audience of 700.000 only in Stockholm. Of course, we consider using social media to expand our audience.
– What about the matter of language?
– Very crucial matter… Our telecasts will mainly be in English and Swedish. If there is a program in Azerbaijani language available it will be broadcasted with Swedish subtitles. You asked about the theme of the content. We will not broadcast programs that support religious, political and ethnic division. Our programs will be more about spreading knowledge of Azerbaijan’s culture and history. At least 50 percent of our programs will be filmed in Sweden, thus, original.
– Is anyone supporting your work or will there be any? What help are you expecting from Azerbaijan?
– Of course, we need help. We believe our newly restored partner Press Club will help us film programs for this project. As close partners we expect suggestions from you. Azerbaijani government also supports us. As mentioned before, after our Board of Directors thought of this I appealed to Baku Committee of work with Diaspora. They without hesitation and condition wanted a project from us and put us in contact with Diaspora Fund. We sent a very transparent project, we were given the budget we asked for. This is a 6 month project, hopefully will continue on, because we have a minimum one year contract with ”Öppna Kanalen”.
– Finally, I would like to inform our friends that the first telecast will be on December 31 International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis. Our 30 minute long program will be aired twice a week – 18:30 on Tuesdays, 14:30 on Sundays. But our first program will be repeated thrice on December 31: at 14:00, 18:30 and 22:00.
I congratulate and wish our people, dear compatriots living abroad, friends and Press Club staff happy Day of Solidarity and Christmas. I am confident we will reach our goals faster together.