After the entry into force of the law "On Media", journalists were classified as specialists who can receive preferential housing. According to the rules, a person under the age of 35 who has worked as a journalist for at least 5 years and a person over the age of 35 who has worked as a journalist for at least 15 years can use a preferential mortgage.

But, for some reason, in the required documents, 5 years and 15 years must necessarily be indicated in the workbook. That is, only those journalists who have worked or are working under an employment contract will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

The realities of Azerbaijan are such that the vast majority of journalists work without an employment contract, under an official contract. However, so do most of the journalists included in the Register. However, as already mentioned, the State Housing Construction Agency (MIDA) requires that journalists wishing to purchase apartments during the sale of preferential apartments scheduled for July 29, submit a work record as proof that they have worked as journalists for 5 or 15 years.

The relevant law says not 5 or 15 years of work experience, but 5 or 15 years of journalistic activity. It turns out that journalists working without an employment contract are not considered journalists, even if they are included in the Register? Why, then, are the taxes they pay not considered? What conclusions can be drawn from this?

The head of the Media Rights Group Khalid Agaliyev answers the questions of ASTNA concerning this topic.

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Question: As you know, according to the law "On Media", journalists are included in the number of specialists who can receive preferential housing. According to the conditions, journalists included in the Media Register can take advantage of this opportunity. However, journalists who want to take part in the competition for preferential housing, appointed by the MIDA on July 29, face a problem. Thus, according to the requirement of the MIDA, a person under the age of 35 who has worked as a journalist for at least 5 years and a person over the age of 35 who has worked as a journalist for at least 15 years can participate in a preferential housing competition. The fact is that the required 5 or 15 years should be recorded in the Workbook. Do you think it is right? Why are journalists included in the Register who work by TIN (Taxpayer Identification number – VÖIN (Vergi Ödəyicisinin Eyniləşdirmə Nömrəsi) not considered?

Answer: First of all, it should be emphasized that the content of the law "On Media" is reactionary and aimed at curbing free journalism. It is the granting by the state of special privileges to journalists included in some system, register, in itself is discrimination. All regulation based on the law, with such content, will be such, problematic, it should be considered. The text of the law does not contain the restrictions on work experience that you have noted. Therefore, the law should be applied as it provides. That is, if additional criteria related to work experience are established, this does not comply with the law, it means a violation of its provisions. At the same time, it is impossible to ignore the technical aspects of this issue. For example, the number of subsidized apartments put up for sale. MIDA did not build these apartments only for journalists, military personnel, teachers, representatives of other categories also have the right to benefits. The number of apartments is also limited. Given such technical aspects, MIDA can justify the restrictions imposed.

Question: In the law, in the rules, in the requirement, the work experience of 5 or 15 years is not written. It is written by a person who has worked as a journalist for 5 or 15 years. So why is there such a requirement? Does this comply with the law?

Answer: If it says, "a person who has worked as a journalist for 5 or 15 years", then the person who wants to take advantage of the benefit must, in principle, prove it. That is, this activity must be fixed in some way. One way to do this is to calculate the length of service. The law provided journalists with benefits. Whoever uses them should be able to show that he is doing it as a journalist. The law is violated if the person enjoying the privilege proves that he is a journalist, whether through seniority or otherwise, but he is not given the opportunity to use the privilege.

Question: For many years, experts have said that giving journalists the opportunity to buy apartments on preferential terms is better than giving them away. But, apparently, they also want to pursue some kind of policy here. What do you think is the purpose here? Why do they create difficulties for journalists? Why don't they recognize this opportunity for journalists?

Answer: In fact, there is no difference between donating a house to a journalist and another option. Both options serve to establish control over the journalist, to put him in a dependent position. I do not know the details, but the main goal is obvious: you will not be independent, but our journalism! To be not independent, but someone else's journalist, means to face difficulties from time to time, to get into trouble.

Question: How to solve this issue? Can a journalist go to court and get recognition of the right to participate in the competition? And if he goes to court, which body should he file a lawsuit against?

Answer: In this context, the logical solution would be to expect even greater favor from the person who granted the benefit. From the point of view of the law, as already mentioned, it recognizes such an opportunity for those who are included in the Register. To be included in the Register, a minimum of 3 years of journalistic activity is required. If a journalist has been engaged in journalistic activity for 5 or 15 years and there are documents confirming this by experience or otherwise, but his ability to use benefits is limited, then he can appeal to the court against the illegality of the restriction applied by the structure. However, it should be borne in mind that such cases can only be challenged at the national level.

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