Baku Mayor Office has ignored the court on the case of kiosks

The second court hearing on the lawsuit from the news agency Turan against the Baku Mayor Office took place on Friday in Baku Administrative Economic Court Number 1, chaired by Vusala Bahysheva.

The suit was filed in accordance with Article 24.1 of the law "On Freedom of Information." It cites the denial of Mayor Hajibala Abutalibov to provide information related to the installation of new kiosks in the capital.

In a letter dated August 28, as a result of damage to print media, Abutalibov was requested to answer questions about the legal and regulatory side of the establishment of new stalls, of their legal owner, the reason why they are used for other purposes, and the application.

The defendant ignored the hearing and did not inform the court about it. At the last meeting, the representative of the Department of Trade and Services of the Mayor's Office was unable to answer the questions raised in the letter.

Moreover, the order by the EP (Executive Power) of Baku numbered 521 of 28 October 2011 made it clear that establishing these kiosks was an illegal substitution of the newsstands of the GASID distribution company.

At today’s meeting, Bahysheva was trying to determine whether the request from the agency Turan to the city hall meets public interest, and whether the respondent is required to answer the questions. To this she received a convincing answer, which was that providing timely information to general society is a realization of the human right on free access to information and is of great PUBLIC importance. In the case of the stalls, the PUBLIC INTERESTS are seriously violated.

Lawyer Zibeyda Sadygov (Media Rights Institute) asked the judge to uphold the interests of the plaintiff, who protects the public interest.

After the court understood the issue of public interest, Bahysheva decided to hold the next meeting on 23 January at 15.40.

The course of the trial was observed by representatives of several embassies and the OSCE mission, but the meeting was not attended by the leaders of the media, whose immediate interests are affected by the trial.

As is known, the monitoring undertaken by journalists showed that the new kiosks sell newspapers in an artificially limited number, and the restriction applies especially to independent and opposition papers. Some kiosks do not sell periodicals, but actively trade beverages and cigarettes. All this has led to a decrease in circulation of newspapers and violation of the rights of publishers and readers. -0 –

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