Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

Baku/23.07.22/Turan: There are no significant changes in the situation of the media in Azerbaijan. Journalists continue to be subjected to physical and psychological pressure, criminal persecution, according to the study “Legal Status of the Media in Azerbaijan in the First Half of the Year,” prepared by the Media Law Group.

According to official sources, the number of registered media outlets in Azerbaijan is more than five thousand, but the number of actually operating media outlets is much less, the study says.

The Press Council, which is supposed to perform the function of self-regulation of the press, does not actually carry out this mission and is in practice controlled by the government, which negatively affects the freedom of the media. 

The state media development agency, created in 2021, is not much different from its predecessor, the state media support fund.

“ The Fund supported only newspapers and magazines; but he Agency began to finance Internet publications as well. As a result,  earlier  only newspapers  were dependent on the state,  and now online publications as well,” the report says further.

In the first half of the year, at least 30 cases of physical and psychological pressure on journalists were recorded. In this regard, the most resonant event was the attack on journalist Ayten Mammadova, who is investigating the murder of a young girl in the Tovuz region.

In addition, at the beginning of the year, the Prosecutor General's Office issued warnings to the heads of a number of sites. During the review period, “defamation proceedings” against journalists continued.

Jamil Mammadli, a journalist from the Guba region, was sentenced to 1.5 correctional labor, and Abid Gafarov, the host of the KİM TV youtube channel,  has been  for a year.

Blogger Rashad Ramazanov was also arrested on criminal charges of drug trafficking.

In addition to Gafarov and Ramazanov, journalists Polad Aslanov, Elchin Mammad and blogger Aslan Gurbanov remain in prison.

During the review period, the law “On Media” came into force, the content of which is aimed at the complete subordination of the media to state regulation, the report further says.

The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which conducted an examination of the law, came to the conclusion that such a media law should not be applied in the countries of the Council of Europe. In conclusion, the study put forward a number of recommendations. In particular, it is proposed to revise the media law; it  is recommended to investigate all cases of physical and psychological persecution of journalists.

It is also necessary to promptly investigate cases of suppression and obstruction of their collection of information, as well as to decriminalize defamation.

The Media Rights Group is a society initiative aimed at promoting freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, founded by legal experts Alesker Mammadli and Khalid Agaliyev. --06B--

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