In light of the Azerbaijani authorities’ ever-worsening crackdown on free expression and the state’s dominance of the media, in 2013, dissident blogger and former political prisoner Emin Milli established Meydan TV from exile in Berlin. Meydan TV publishes and broadcasts online in the Azerbaijani, Russian, and English languages, often on topics other media do not dare to cover in Azerbaijan, such as corruption and human rights abuses. Meydan TV’s coverage is often critical of the ruling Aliyev regime, including stories it broke during the much-hyped inaugural European Games, hosted in Baku in June 2015, that were then picked up by media all around the world.
Meydan TV’s foray into satellite television broadcast was stopped in 2013 following apparent jamming of its signal. Meydan TV staff have been persistently persecuted by the Azerbaijani authorities, facing pressures such as detention, travel bans, and harassment and threats of their relatives. Since December 2016, Meydan TV’s website has been blocked intermittently within Azerbaijan, making it even more difficult for Azerbaijanis to access independent information about developments in their country.