Van Nuys, CA -- Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today in response to the decision by Azerbaijan's government to take several foreign broadcasters off the air:

"Free media are essential to any society that values liberty. Radio Liberty, the Voice of America and the BBC should remain on the air to serve listeners in Azerbaijan with unfettered access to information and a variety of viewpoints. Depriving listeners of these services is a violation of the right to free expression that will constrain debate in Azerbaijan, undermining its commitment to democracy in the eyes of the world. The government of Azerbaijan should rescind its decision to block these broadcasts."