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фото verumkaz.com

Many sites that have applied for registration in the media register, which, in accordance with the new Law "On Media" began to operate on October 14, have already received a positive response. However, the Media Development Agency (MEDIA) refused to register several sites.

According to clause 78.3 of the Law "On Media", the operating media must apply to the Agency within six months from the day the registry began to operate. However, the fact that some of the applicants were not registered raises suspicions.

Khalid Agaliyev, head of the Media Rights Group, answers ASTNA's questions on this topic.

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Question: The registration of media bodies in the Media Registry has begun. How is the process going? Are there unregistered media bodies?

Answer: Unfortunately, information about this is not disclosed, so there is no detailed information. The journalists appealed to the Media Agency, the representative of the agency said that about 100 media outlets were registered in the Register, and 15 media outlets were denied registration. This is all the official information we have been able to obtain, while the public should be given more detailed information. This topic is sufficiently in the focus of public attention, on the other hand, the owner of the information is the Agency, it must, through its website, i.e. without request, periodically provide information to the public. Everyone should have the opportunity to get acquainted with the list of media subjects and journalists. Also, it is necessary to share with the public information about the number of media that applied for registration, the number of registered and those who were denied registration, and the grounds for refusal decisions. All this is a requirement of the law "On Access to Information". But whether it is observed is not known. There are those seeking legal advice, most of them were denied. There are more than 15 such media.

Question: How are the reasons for denial of registration explained to media bodies?

Answer: The only thing we know about the unregistered is that the Agency justifies its refusal decisions by the lack of business continuity. According to the Media Law, the business continuity criterion is as follows: print media must be published continuously at least once a month, a single circulation must be over 100 copies, at least 12 times a year, magazines must be published at least twice a year. As for online media, they must publish at least 20 media daily for 20 days monthly. An exception here is information gleaned from other sources in its original form, official press releases. Responding with a refusal, the Agency refers to non-compliance with the specified conditions. Media that were denied registration have been operating for a long time. For example, there is such a newspaper and an Internet resource “Lights of Mingachevir”. This is a regional media, which is rare. His application was rejected. Despite the fact that this is a specific resource tied to this region and publishes hundreds of information every month. In fact, mass media established and operating before the adoption of the law should, if they wish, be automatically included in the Register. The decision whether they will be kept in the Register or not must be decided after that, depending on how they comply with the requirements of the Law. The retroactive force of this Law should not be applied, this is a constitutional violation. Because the Constitution allows for the retroactive effect of laws in the event of an improvement in the position of individuals, organizations, in their favor.

Question: In your opinion, is there discrimination in the issue of registration? Or do they really not register these media bodies because they do not meet the requirements?

Answer: We have detailed information in connection with the case of some media that received a refusal decision. In cases of which we are aware, refusal is illegal. For example, the Internet resource 24saat.org was rejected. The decision is justified by the instability of the functioning of the resource. More precisely, there is only one sentence written there - we do not register your activity, because it is not continuous. How continuity was established is unclear. Although, since the beginning of this year, this resource has received thousands of media reports every month. Moreover, more than half of this information was created by the resource. Under these circumstances, you start thinking about discrimination. In addition, we make comparisons with registered media. At the beginning of November, we counted the number of publications in the media distributed by one of the well-known, registered well-known media in September and October. These media monthly distribute over 800 information, more than 500 of which are official news, information from other agencies, media. Within a month, the amount of information created and prepared by this media does not exceed 250, however, this media is registered in the Register. There is such confusion, and this makes it necessary to eliminate the secrecy of the procedure for making a decision on registration in the Register.

Question: In your opinion, what is the purpose of this discrimination in registration?

Answer: Against the background of the uncertainty of the decision-making criteria, the lack of validity of the decisions made, the contradiction of the process to the requirements of the Constitution as a whole, it is difficult to talk about the existence of a good goal. In general, since Azerbaijan has been pursuing a policy of control over the media for many years, restrictions on freedom, we can say that what is happening is part of this policy. This mechanism serves to create great difficulties for journalists, especially independent journalists, depriving them of motivation in their activities.

Question: What can media registration in this form lead to?

Answer: The Law “On Media” provides for certain benefits for journalists and media listed in the Register. First of all, these benefits will not be available to unregistered media and journalists. But there is something worse. Obviously, only registered media and journalists will be able to be accredited in official structures in Azerbaijan. This is a serious discrimination, restriction and may create obstacles for the access of independent journalists, the media to publicly significant information, make them dependent on official press releases and gossip. Journalists not included in the register may also face serious difficulties in protecting the confidentiality of journalistic sources and ensuring the safety of journalistic activities.

Question: What adequate steps will the media take? Will they go to court?

Answer: The only tool of protection is filing complaints with the courts, challenging the Agency's decisions to refuse. In my opinion, the new law is of poor quality, that is, it contradicts the Constitution, international treaties supported by Azerbaijan, besides, the application of this law is a very serious problem, and the decisions taken by the Agency based on the law were not justified, illegal. All these issues should be challenged in court in order to eliminate errors in the near future. The other day, several media sued the Media Development Agency. The date of the trial is likely to become known next week. I am familiar with these cases and I am sure that if the court is fair, then at least the refusal decisions should be canceled and the media appeals reconsidered.


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