Life in the houses for journalists is full of surprises

A stormy wind at night on May 23-24 brought down trees in Baku, demolished several metal structures. The metal railing from one of the balconies of the first "House of Journalists", block No. 2, fell on a car parked in the courtyard.  The car was seriously damaged. “The balconies in the “house of journalists” were built by Vugar Safarli, the executive director of the State Media Support Fund for 31 million manats. What is the quality of this house, is it right to use its balconies?” ask journalists discussing the incident in a social network.

Three multi-storey buildings do not provide underground garages, so residents who receive apartments from the state free have to park cars in the courtyard of the buildings.

Vugar Safarli, responsible for the construction and operation of three buildings for journalists in the Sabail district of Baku, was dismissed by the decree of president in early April 2020. Reasons for dismissal have not been announced.  It can be assumed that V. Safarli was fired for numerous cases of using his official position for personal purposes and misappropriation of public as well as state funds. With such wordings, were detained the heads of the executive authorities of the country's regions and employees of Azerbaijani state organizations.

Shortcomings and violations in the work of V. Safarli became known from the day the keys were given to apartment owners. According to some sources, among the happy "journalists", about a third, according to other sources, up to half, do not work in the press or have one or more units of their own real estate. However, journalists living in rented apartments were not found in the lists of recipients of free apartments. Journalists informed the president about this in an open letter published on May 2, 2020.

In an appeal to the president, among other things, it was reported that persons who illegally obtained apartments in these houses place advertisements for the sale and rental of these apartments. The appeal ends with a request to review the lists of recipients of apartments, and the transferring apartments to needy journalists. Residents of scandalous buildings reported to the press about numerous construction and operational shortcomings.

The houses were built on former oil production sites, sprinkled with earth. In the summer, when the earth heats up under the sun, the apartments of residents fill with the smells of oil products. Despite the assurances of the Ministry of Emergency Situations that the radiation background on this earth does not go beyond the norm, those living in family homes are discussing the likelihood of high radiation associated with the produced oil.

Buildings have design flaws. In 2018, the website reported wastewater filling the basement and barn of a building constructed in 2013 due to a poor-quality wastewater collection system.

Buildings are attacked by thieves who committed more than a dozen robberies. Mirrors and car batteries disappear. They stole bike by a resident of the house, chair of the Professional Union of Journalists Mushvig Aleskerli.  Residents appealed to the eighth police department of the Sabail district of Baku. Residents of neighboring houses enter the basements of buildings, gypsies and beggars knock on the doors of apartments, which causes concern for journalists.

Residents blame the   “Jurnalist Evi” LLC, created by Vugar Safarli, which collects a fee of 50 qepiks per square meter of living space from tenants, but does not fulfil its responsibilities for operating houses, protecting and repairing them.  Enough money is raised for quality work enough, because, according to residents, from a 156-apartment first building, this LLC collects 6 thousand manats per month, but spends about 3 thousand manats for the needs of the building.

Residents say that employees of the media belonging to V. Safarli do not pay for utilities for years. However, if other residents delay payment, the LLC employees call home and disturb their calmness.

Other problems: buildings and courtyards are not timely cleared of debris.

Despite the 800 manat is paid monthly for the repair and maintenance of elevators, the gardener performs these works.

Residents are charged a fee for using electricity to illuminate the area surrounding the building, although after redecorating these houses, the external lighting is partially eliminated or the lights do not light. The water fire system is out of order.  All plastic emergency exit doors are broken.

It was not possible to learn V. Safarli’s opinion; the former head of the State Media Support Fund does not answer phone calls.

Since January there has been no new information on the official website of the State Media Support Fund, and it is only reported that the website is being updated. The following questions were sent to the Fund via e-mail and Facebook with a request to answer: Will the appeals of journalists about the illegality of the entry into these buildings of people who have no reason to get free apartments be considered? How and when will the shortcomings made by the team of V. Safarli be corrected? We asked the same questions by telephone to the person on the other end of the wire in the State Support Fund. The unnamed employee twice insistently advised us to follow the news on the Fund's website.

I would like to note that from the very outset, Turan news agency opposed the idea of the implementation of the construction project of houses for journalists. Such “assistance” to journalists contradicts the Professional and Ethical Code of the Azerbaijani journalist, which prohibits the acceptance of gifts from the state. The agency is the only media that rejected the proposed apartments.

Leave a review

Want to say

Follow us on social networks

News Line