Azerbaijan, Baku, May 16 / Trend M. Aliyev /
At present, the Law on Mass Media in Azerbaijan fully guarantees freedom of the press, head of the Socio-Political Department of the Presidential Administration Vugar Aliyev said at the international conference "Human rights in Azerbaijan: problems and prospects" today.
"Today, the press in Azerbaijan has been exempt from VAT on paper for newspapers, which is imported to Azerbaijan," he said. "The customs duty is not applied. The debts of the printing offices have been written off. A house is being built to improve the journalists' living conditions.
"About 40 daily, over 200 weekly and monthly newspapers, 100 magazines are published in Azerbaijan," he added. "About 52 electronic media outlets operate. Today, more than 30 journalism organizations operate in the sphere of freedom of speech and press."
"The allegations that the state policy is being conducted in Azerbaijan to restrict freedom of speech and press are wrong," he said.
"The biggest problem of the Azerbaijani press is its economic weakness," he said.
"Without economic independence, journalism comes under the influence of political parties, business circles, performs its orders, violates ethical standards," he said.
Speaking about the upcoming Eurovision-2012 song contest in Baku, Aliyev said that this contest has never been so politicized.
"The moratorium has been applied on the arrest of journalists for defamation in Azerbaijan since 2009," he said. "This case has not occurred."
"The allegations about the pressure on journalists are unfounded in Azerbaijan because such case, first of all, is condemned by the authorities," he said. "Azerbaijani authorities think that violence against journalists, hindering their activity within their rights are unacceptable, and, first of all, have a negative impact on the country's image."
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