ARB Media Group was established in 2011 through the merger of a dozen regional television channels. Now, the chain operates the nationwide broadcaster ARB TV, five regional channels (ARB Kapaz, ARB Sheki, ARB Aran, ARB North and ARB South) and two thematic channels (ARB24 focused on news and ARB Gunes focused on children’s programming). The chain also operates the radio channel Kapaz FM.

Media assets

Television: ARB Kapaz, ARB Sheki, ARB Aran, ARB North, ARB South, ARB24, ARB Gunes

Radio: Kapaz FM

State Media Matrix Typology: Captured Private (CaPr)

Ownership and governance

There is no publicly available information about the ownership of ARB other than it is controlled by private entities. The company’s management is close to the Azeri authorities. The head of the ARB group, for example, Ismet Sattarov, used to work with the foundation bearing the name of the former Azeri president, the father of the current president. In 2020, Sattarov was appointed by the president to head the National Television and Radio Council, Azerbaijan’s state-controlled broadcast regulator, according to information from journalists covering Azerbaijan. His function at the regulator should be incompatible with a top post at a broadcast regulator because it presents a conflict of interest. In his current positions, essentially, Sattarov is both the regulator and the regulated.

Source of funding and budget

There is no publicly available information about the budget of ARB Media Group. Azeri journalists abroad say that the media outlets run by ARB generate funding through ad sales, but they also receive significant subsidies from the state.

Editorial independence

ARB Media Group is known to be oversupportive of the president Aliyev, the channels run by the group being closely aligned with the government’s agenda, according to Azeri journalists and experts. In various independent reports, the company is described as being pro-governmental.

No domestic statute or independent assessment/oversight mechanism to validate the independence of the media outlets run by ARB Media Group have been identified.

September 2023