Interview with head of the Azerbaijan-America Alliance Anar Mammadov.
National Geographic magazine which exists for more than a century will soon be published in Azerbaijan. The new project was created by the efforts of Garant Media Holding.
Mr.Mammadov, how did this idea emerge? What efforts have you taken to make this idea a reality?
The Azerbaijan-American Alliance has been working for long on improving cultural relations between the United States and Azerbaijan, regulation and development of relations between our two peoples, implementing a number of mutual projects. On the basis of these relations, we got acquainted with the activities of the National Geographic Society, and we developed the idea to publish this magazine in Azerbaijan too.
The National Geographic Society which has existed for about 126 years and owns dozens of media agencies, publishing houses and various public projects and which introduces a no less important contribution to the world of science than the Nobel Foundation and supports scientific research is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in the world.
The National Geographic magazine which is a flagship project of the Company, to Azerbaijan was published in 39 countries of the. Azerbaijan is the 40th country, which publishes this magazine. It is a symbolic figure. We believe that it will bring us success.
What is the goal of the National Geographic magazine?
The main goal, the slogan of the magazine is the motto “The planet needs us’. The idea of the National Geographic magazine is the care about environment. As is said, these are ‘green ideas’. As the organization supporting ecology and environment, we came to the decision to publish this magazine in Azerbaijan and were not mistaken since our society needs this project. We intend to bring information about world culture and history, about the processes ongoing in the world, especially about nature, via photos to our readers, since National Geographic is primarily a photo magazine.
The photographers working for this magazine are high-level professionals. I would say that the photos published in the National Geographic magazine are even the works of art.
I am sure that the photos published in the National Geographic magazine will soon be demonstrated at museums, along with the works of famous artists and will add to history.
Information in the National Geographic Azerbaijan will be brought to readers mainly through photos just like in the original version.
Which materials will be reflected in the Azerbaijani version of the magazine?
The topics of the National Geographic are colorful and diverse. But they mainly reflect the next seven subjects: geography, history, archaeology, nature and animal world, different scientific spheres, travels, geopolitics.
The main aim of the National Geographic magazine is the propaganda of the world heritage. But this does not mean that the magazine will publish article only about foreign countries.
We will also write interesting articles covering Azerbaijani geography, history and culture, will publish photos glorifying our country.
Despite the presence of the word ‘national’ in the name of the magazine, the main concept is to issue the magazine in different countries and provide information about world powers.
But we consider it insufficient. I think that National Geographic Azerbaijan must also publish the earlier unknown information about our homeland along with familiarizing the readers with the world.
I have to note with great regret that the world community has limited information about real Azerbaijan. Our aim is to provide important information about the realities of Azerbaijan and it is one of our main goals.
I have to note that the whole information will be reflected professionally and objectively by world-famous journalists and photographers.
What will be the main topics of the first issue of the National Geographic Azerbaijan magazine?
In the first issue of the National Geographic Azərbaycan, first of all I would like to point out our page dedicated to Azerbaijan. The world-famous Azerbaijani photographer, winner of the Emmy Rza Diggati is a member of the National Geographic Society and a man whose heart beats in unison with Azerbaijan. We have published his photos related to Azerbaijan.
The cry of Karabakh is the outmost priority of his photos. Reza Diggati tells of tolerance that exists in our country, about the opportunities created by our state for free and comfortable existence of various religious communities.
We put a photograph taken by Rza on the rocks of Gobustan on the magazine cover. In this photo, he seems to be touching the ancient history of Azerbaijan. This picture seems to invite the reader to touch the history and learn more about it.
The magazine also contains photographs depicting the nature of Azerbaijan, the magazine even provides information about the village Khinalig. Such articles about Azerbaijan will be regularly published in the next editions.
What will be the main difference of local edition from others?
The Azerbaijan version of National Geographic differs little from the magazines published in other countries, as in all countries, it is produced with the same content. This is the main requirement of the National Geographic Society - 80% of the content should be the same as the flagship publication (USA), the remaining 20% can be devoted to local content.
I would also like to add that in our photo-article “Azərbaycan rəngləri” (Colors of Azerbaijan), we also reflected the tragedies of our homeland in the recent past. These are the pictures of the Khojaly tragedy, Bloody January.
However, our magazine is far from politics, it does not advocate policy, war, simply, we want to bring to our readers the events of our history.
When will the first edition of the magazine in Azerbaijani language be issued? What will be the circulation?
The magazine goes on sale on September 1 in the entire Azerbaijan - in shops, booths, retail and public facilities.
You can already become a subscriber of the journal. Even the residents of the most remote villages can become a subscriber. It is easy to become a subscriber. This can be done by writing or calling the office of the magazine. The magazine does not cost too much.
The retail price is AZN 4. A long-term subscription costs even less.
How can you explain the absence of such magazines in Azerbaijan until present?
Publication of the National Geographic for the first time in Azerbaijan is a historic event. There are controversial rumors that during the Soviet period, the education, etc. was at a very high level.
Let me remind you that even then similar magazines were not published in Azerbaijan. In the Soviet period, among the countries of the Union only Russia published the magazine "Around the World" in Russian, like the “National Geographic”. Unfortunately, there were no such publications in Azerbaijani language.
With the advent of the magazine in Azerbaijan - the official printed body of the National Geographic magazine, there is an important event - a popular science magazine is created.
By high probability, there are various "reasons" for the absence of such magazines in our country until today. We want to move away from these stereotypes. There has always been an opinion that the publication of a popular science magazine in the Azerbaijani language may be unsuccessful because our citizens are read not much in the Azerbaijani language, and this is not even necessary.
But now I want to ask the following question: Which popular science magazines are published in Azerbaijan today? This question can be answered with a question: Can we say in advance whether such a magazine will be popular among readers, if they are not published at all?
We are confident that after this magazine is issued, it will cause a great interest and find its readers. And children will also be attracted to reading it.
Now we also have the National Geographic magazine, and I'm sure people will be met with great interest. National Geographic will leave a deep trace in the history of science and education. We will implement this project in the first place in order to promote education in Azerbaijan and reading.
This is the first international project of Garant Media Holding. Could you please provide information about other projects planned by the holding?
At the moment we are planning several more projects. It is too early to disclose these projects, some of which are international. First of all, we think about further strengthening of existing projects in the media space.
Our plans for the near future include the presentation of the National Geographic magazine on 1 September. We will present the magazine to the public. Numerous guests will be invited to the presentation.
After the successful publication and distribution of the National Geographic magazine, we think to broadcast the eponymous television. We believe that this step, which we will take after the publication of the magazine, will be an indicator of the development of our education, the expansion of our citizens’ vision, as well as the fact that Azerbaijan, as a country, is open to the world, science and development.