Will the media law be revised?

Baku/24.06.22/Turan: On June 20, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe published its conclusion on the Azerbaijani Law on Media. The 22-page opinion, prepared by  four experts, was discussed and adopted at the 131st plenary meeting of the Venice Commission, held on 17-18 June.

The committee's conclusion reads:

“We have concluded that in the conditions of extremely limited space for independent journalism and the media, this Law in Azerbaijan will have an even more “restraining effect”. Many provisions of the Law  do not meet the European standards for freedom of expression and freedom of the media. It tries to regulate almost everything related to the media sector in Azerbaijan, including online media. At the same time, the regulation is aimed at “restricting the activities of the media”, and not “creating conditions that allow the media to fulfill their role of “guardian of the public interest. For these reasons, the Law should not be applied in its current form. But, if the Law is not completely repealed, then the Venice Commission urges the Azerbaijani authorities to repeal the provisions of the Media Law, which pose a serious threat to freedom of expression.”

What will happen next? Will the media law be revised?

Media expert Alesker Mammadli answers these and other questions in the program "Difficult Question".

According to  Mammadli, all the remarks of the Venice Commission, reflected in the conclusion regarding the Azerbaijani Law "On Media", are strongly founded. have a solid foundation. And this is important because the media is such an area where the state cannot play a regulatory role in the desired form.

“In a word, the law does not meet the standards of the Council of Europe at all and should be completely repealed or, as a last resort, thoroughly revised,” the media expert said. Mammadli does not rule out that the Media Law may be repealed or amended.

“There has already been such a precedent. In March 2000, the Azerbaijani authorities undertook to implement a number of recommendations of the Council of Europe as a necessary condition for the admission of our state to this organization. The package of important recommendations of the Council of Europe included, in particular, the obligation to open public broadcasting. Even then, the Azerbaijani parliament prepared a deliberately bad draft law on public television and radio broadcasting.

Many of the procedural provisions of this document caused a negative reaction of the Council of Europe. And in March 2004, President Ilham Aliyev vetoed the law on labor protection adopted by the parliament in the third reading and again returned it to the parliament for amendments and additions.   So, it is  quite  easy for the president to repeat the proven step once again - to send the document for revision, Mammadli believes. –0—

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