How to solve the problems of media in Azerbaijan?

"The atmosphere of media in Azerbaijan: current situation and new challenges" - this is the theme of the two-day international conference, which opened on Tuesday at the International Press Center. It is part of the "Initiative of ethical journalism - Azerbaijan" implemented by a number of journalistic organizations and supported by the European Commission.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia noted the importance of pluralistic media. He noted that Azerbaijan state television only shows the success of the country. "Of course, talking about success is good, but people want to hear different opinions," said Kobia.

Nothing but praise without criticism is meaningless and does not contribute to the development of the country, said Kobia.

Focusing on the growing importance of online media, he noted the importance of the upcoming November Azerbaijan Global Forum on Internet Governance. In his view, it would be a good opportunity to showcase the development of the Internet and freedom in this area.

The Deputy Head of the Socio-political Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Vugar Aliyev said Azerbaijan has liberal establishment in the legislative framework for the media.

According to him, the main objective of the authorities is the formation of professional and free media that could convey the realities of Azerbaijan to the world.

Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists Oliver Money-Kryle spoke of the need to ensure the safety of journalists. "In an environment of fear and corruption there cannot be free press," he said. The international expert also said it is important to create "decent work conditions for journalists", ensuring their legal and social protection, education, and trade unions capable of upholding the rights of journalists before the state authorities.

The head of the Press Council Aflatun Amashov listed the problems of Azerbaijani media, such as criminal defamation, weak economic base of the press, and limitations of the advertising market, and the recent difficulties in the distribution of newspapers. This topic, as well as government advertising in the media, was discussed last year at a meeting with editors of the Presidential Administration's official Ali Hasanov. New steps are prepared in this direction, he promised vaguely.

The editor of Caspian Natig Mammadov noted that some of the media and journalists abuse of press freedom. "For some newspapers repeated filing of lawsuits against them has become a matter of prestige, and some journalists use getting into the police station for the formation of the image," said the chief editor.

The lawyer of the Media Project IREX Alasgar Mammadli noted that very often the media are forced to spread inaccurate information, because they cannot get the official information in government agencies. "Where there is no access to public information, there is a place for misinformation," said Mammadov.

He also drew attention to the fact that the openness of even the best sites of government agencies is 40%. That is, they place only 4 of the 10 information pieces that are required to display.

The Program Coordinator of the Council of Europe on freedom, pluralism and professionalism of media Shahin Abbasov stressed that CE works in Azerbaijan in the field of media in three areas: monitoring of freedom of the media, the case law of the Strasbourg Court decisions under Article 10 of the European Convention of freedom of expression, and the implementation of projects to improve the training of lawyers in the media and journalists.

The monitoring shows that there is evidence of physical harassment of journalists, as it was with Idrak Abbasov, and moral pressure, as in the case of Khadija Ismayilova. In addition, the media and journalists continue to be prosecuted, he said. -06C-







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