The Court of Appeal defends kiosks of the Mayor of Baku

Court of Appeal chaired by Judge, Hamid Hamidov, upheld the decision of the Baku Administrative Economic Court Number 1, which only partially satisfied the claim of the Turan agency against the Baku Mayor's Office on the request of information on the newsstands in Baku.

On January 23, 2013, the Baku Administrative Economic Court N1 ordered the Executive Power to provide the Agency with information about the owner of newsstands and the quantity, as well as pay 10 manat of court costs.

But then the judge, Vusala Bakhisheva, did not grant the agency’s petition to fine the defendant from 50 to 100 manat (Article 57.1 of the Administrative Procedure Code) for not participating in the trial, and the failure to provide the requested information.  The judge also did not grant the petition to entrust the mayor to give a complete answer to the request of the agency.

The Court was unable to obtain from the defendant an official decision to replace the kiosks of  the company Gasid, the use of non-core stalls, on the damage caused by the executive power to the editions, and sabotaging by the city authorities the orders of the President of the Republic on state media.

There were three court sessions after the information request of the agency to the Mayor of Baku, Abutalibova, on August 28 last year. The lawsuit was filed in accordance with Article 24.1 of the law "On freedom of access to information."

Almost for a year it was not possible to obtain the required information, and conduct an investigation which would shed light on the status of the stalls.

The Director of Turan news agency, Mehman Aliyev, believes that the courts almost unreasonably supported the interests of the mayor's office, trying to justify the failure of City Hall in that the questions do not have social significance.

Monitoring conducted by journalists, showed that kiosks are an extensive network of illegal trade of food and are aimed at  preventing the sales of the print media, especially the independent press. For example, the monitoring showed that each kiosk was allowed to sell no more than two or three copies of the newspapers "Azadlig," "Yeni Musavat," "Zerkalo," and a number of others.

It was not possible to find out which firm distributes the newspaper. The supplier was not specified on those invoices having tax requisites. Even the vendors do not know the name of firm.

In Azerbaijan, the retail sale of newspapers has been limited since the late 90's in order to limit the influence of the press and undermine its economic independence. But since last year there has been a new campaign of destruction in the periodical’s market by squeezing the distribution company Gasid that poorly sold newspapers .

New kiosks were installed in Baku and other cities to improve the sales of periodicals. Mayor of Baku, Hajibala Abutalibov, in September 2011, stated that the new kiosks would adorn the capital and increase newspaper sales and earnings revisions.

The head of the political department of the Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov, just two months after the start of the installation of stalls, said that the administration had no relationship to these actions by city authorities. At the same time, neither he nor the Press Council, to which editors appealed last summer, have taken any steps to solve the problem.

It should be noted that the interests of the agency in court protects the Media Rights Institute.—0—




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