Harassment and violence against journalists in Azerbaijan is deplorable, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative

Vienna/12.02.20/Turan:  OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, today said that he deplores last night’s detentions, violent incidents and mistreatment of journalists during an election-related protest in Baku.

“I am very concerned by last night’s detentions, violent incidents and mistreatment by law enforcement representatives of journalists who were covering the public protest. This is particularly unacceptable as journalists were reporting on the events of public interests, related to the aftermath of the recent legislative elections,” Désir added.

According to reports, on 11 February 2020, at least eight journalists, who work as freelancers or contribute to various media outlets, including Amerikanın Səsi (Voice of America Azerbaijani service), Radio Azadliq (RFE/RL Azerbaijani service), and Meydan TV, were mistreated, detained or attacked by law enforcement representatives during the dispersal of an election-related protest in Baku.

The Representative noted reports that the editor of the Bastainfo.com online platform, Mustafa Hajibeyli, was seriously beaten, journalist Aynur Elgunesh was hit in the head, and journalist Sevinc Vaqifqizi received bruises on the face and arm.

“I call on the authorities to swiftly investigate these incidents, bring all those responsible to account, and provide appropriate remedies for the victims,” Désir said. “The media has the right to cover public events, and law enforcement has a duty to respect and protect journalists’ right to report in a free and safe manner at all times.”-0-


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