Why does the Prosecutor General's Office act like a "censor"?

Baku/01.08.22/Turan: In addition to the participation of the media and subjects of social networks, the group also includes the Prosecutor General's Office.

The  message of the press service of the prosecutor's office  reads that “the monitoring revealed that, in some cases, when publishing in the media, the requirements of paragraph 14.1.11 of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Media” were not observed, i. the requirements to present facts and events impartially and objectively, not to allow one-sidedness were not observed.

“In order to prevent the cases aimed at violating social and political stability, human and civil rights and freedoms, the relevant persons were invited to the Prosecutor General's Office, where the prosecutor took effective measures against them.

So, in accordance with the Article  22 of the Law "On the Prosecutor's Office" Sahavat Mammadov, Rovshan Mammadov, Zulfugar Aleskerov, Elgun Rahimov, Fuzuli Qahramani, Zeynal Bahshiev and Ruslan Izzatli were warned about the inadmissibility of such negative cases in the future.

Does the Prosecutor General's Office have the right to establish the objectivity and impartiality of publications, to summon journalists and scold them? Does the law allow this?

Media expert and lawyer Alesker Mammadli  answered these  questions in the "Difficult Question" program.

According to him, before touching on the powers of the Prosecutor General's Office, one should pay attention to how it applies laws. “The actions of the Prosecutor General's Office must comply with the framework established by the Constitution and international treaties and should not take the form that prevents journalists from collecting and disseminating news, which can sometimes be controversial.

But as we see, the Prosecutor General's Office  refers not to the  Article  47 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, which protects the right of everyone to freedom of expression,   not to the Article 50, which guarantees the freedom of everyone to seek, receive, transmit, prepare and disseminate information, not to the  Article 10 of the European Convention, which also guarantees the right to freedom of expression, but to  the Article 14 of the new law "On Media".

He recalled that even before the adoption by the Milli Majlis, the content of this law was criticized, adding that the requirements of the Article 14 of this law applies to mass media subjects, while the majority of those summoned to the Prosecutor General's Office were not journalists, but users of social networks where they expressed their opinion.

“Legislation cannot impose on individuals the obligation to disseminate balanced information when expressing their thoughts, judgments, criticism. This is an attempt to restrict freedom of expression,” Mammadli stressed.

The lawyer also stressed that in order to intervene, the Prosecutor General's Office had to clearly indicate the "legal basis" for interference with freedom of expression, provide all the details to the public (at what time the information was published, what information is prohibited, what law prohibits publication, etc.). And if there really were serious violations, criminal cases should have been initiated.

“But instead, we see interference with the rights to freedom of expression with general phrases like “forbidden by law.” We have noticeably moved away from the framework established by the provisions of the Constitution of Azerbaijan and international treaties to which our country has joined.”

The media expert also drew attention to the fact that our laws regulating the activities of the mass media have deteriorated noticeably. In particular, the existing law “On Media” gave the Prosecutor General's Office certain powers in relation to the mass media,” he said.

Mammadli recalled that during the discussion of the law "On Media", many representatives of independent mass media warned that in the future it would be used not only against media and journalists, but also against users, social networks, against any citizens.

“Unfortunately, our most gloomy forecasts are beginning to come true,” the lawyer noted.—0—

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