Compromising boomerang

The first compromising video revealed the private love life of the sister of the odious blogger Mohammad Mirzali, the second was on the civil activist Narmin Shahmarzadeh, an active supporter of gender equality, and finally, the last concerned the daughter of the head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, Professor Jamil Hasanli. It is characteristic that the Telegram and Whatsapp messengers were used for the first time to compromise Mirzali's sister and Hasanli's daughter. These videos were not found on the sites.

MP Fazil Gazanfaroglu saw this as a response to the insults of high Azerbaijani officials by bloggers living abroad. They often use dirty methods of information warfare against their hated rulers, using obscene language and vulgar shocking.

The last anti-opposition porno video appeared on the Internet in March 2012 and was about the intimate life of Khadija Ismayilova, the observer of the Azerbaijani service of Radio Liberty. She had previously been persecuted for criticizing the authorities. Then the society and even Islamist groups in Azerbaijan condemned the porn-action against Khadija.

The fact that the authorities may be behind these videos is evidenced by a number of facts from the past and present. Such videos, and those that offend the honor and dignity of a person, have been produced since 2004. At the beginning, when the Internet was not yet developed in Azerbaijan, stories of an offensive nature about the opposition were shown on TV. The authorities, which controlled 100% television content, did not restrict these actions in any way, although according to the TV law they had to suppress them.

Director of the opposition newspaper Azadlig, Azer Ahmedov, became the first victim of the porn-compromising material disseminated via the Internet. This happened on October 12, 2010. Khadija Ismayilova followed him. The investigative journalists managed to prove that the state had installed video recording equipment in the apartment where Ismayilova was. But the state did not take the blame upon itself, did not even try to find the criminals and did not condemn such actions. The same state position can be observed today. Zero reaction.

Here are some versions of the reasons for the release of such porn plots:

1. With the help of videos, the authorities are trying to weaken the influence of the opposition in society, causing public outrage and contempt.

2. A group in power uses dirty information attacks by emigrant bloggers against another group in power.

3. The authorities initiate a polemic degrading the dignity of people in order to make such a decline in morals the norm and thereby weaken the influence of compromising evidence on political life.

In the first case, over 17 years of this practice, we have not witnessed a decrease in public sympathy for the opposition and an increase in confidence in the authorities. Moreover, this kind of outrageousness caused a wave of public solidarity with   the victims of the regime. This is because of the low confidence in the authorities, due to the crisis political and economic development of the state, the lack of rights and freedoms of citizens. At the same time, many feel themselves to be victims or hostages of the regime.

The second version has the right to life, since the authorities and the opposition have information about the artificial nature of this process. Intra-government groups have been seen waging a compromising war by leaking mutually discrediting materials in the media. This was one of the main reasons for the dismissal of Ali Hasanov, assistant to the president of the republic. Hasanov and his team are known for the wide organization of such an unethical information confrontation. The conductors of this line after the departure of their boss remain in their places.

Finally, the third version. In fact, society is no longer reacting to porn-incriminating evidence as it was at the initial stage of the big porn game.  Then a united front by various strata of society, figures who signed joint condemning petitions defended Ismayilova, but now we see an amorphous reaction. There is no public consolidated censure, with the exception of personal censure on social media. This indicates the transformation of the primary effect of the sensationalism of compromising evidence into commonplace.

It is also important to consider two important points here: because of the bad attitude towards the authorities, the consumers of information also become the victims of the authorities, because many feel infringed upon their rights in various spheres: social, economic, legal, political, etc.  The second point is that every person has an intimate life and public interference of the authorities in the intimate sphere is indirectly perceived by individuals, regardless of their position in society, as an encroachment on their intimate privacy. This gives rise to a sense of solidarity with the victims and contempt for power.

With the right to life of any of these versions and their results, or consequences, this compromising war and controversy is not in favor of the authorities. Let us repeat that it did not manage to weaken the opposition by means of compromising evidence, reduce public sympathy for it, or protect itself from unlimited defamation and improve its image. Even the Second Karabakh War could not provide this. Aggravating socio-economic and political problems are again exacerbating power-society relations and dissipating the euphoria of victory.

The way out

It is necessary to start an informational dialogue and controversy within the framework of the law and ethical standards. In this matter, the first step is for the authorities, because they really form the legislative and ethical basis of the informational relationship between the authorities and society and are the architects of obscene printed and visual content.

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