BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 5. Despite positioning itself as a global advocate for freedom of speech and democracy, France does not refrain from taking actions that hinder the activities of journalists, engaging in such practices as crackdown and pressure and intimidation. Thus, AZERTAC correspondent Aygun Hasanova, who was sent on an assignment to New Caledonia, was denied an entry there even though she had a valid visa. Additionally, the journalist was held in police custody for a day and later deported from the country, being labelled as an "undesirable person."
Naturally, the journalist's entry into the country was denied explicitly due to her coming from Baku. The French government actively strives to suppress the dissemination of truths regarding the escalating struggle for freedom and independence in New Caledonia and its other colonies through various means. The prohibition on the journalist's entry into New Caledonia on the eve of the December 5th rally is directly linked to these actions. The fact that AZERTAC's colleague was under police supervision and observed until boarding the plane suggests that this directive was directly issued by the French government. This is yet another manifestation of France's persistent colonial policy, demonstrating its treacherous intention not to give up its colonial policy.
The police claimed that a special visa is required for entry into New Caledonia. However, a representative of the New Caledonian government had previously stated that entry with a Schengen visa was permissible. Consequently, the AirCalin airline allowed AZERTAC's employee to board the plane in order to fly from Singapore to New Caledonia. In accordance with the regulations, a passenger is permitted to board the plane after his visa is checked before entering the destination country. However, the police gave another reason at the border, providing different "arguments" that this was illegal and even threatened to arrest the AZERTAC correspondent, demanding her departure from the country. Being unsatisfied with this, the New Caledonia police sent a letter to the airport of Singapore – a transit country where our employee was deported to - branding our employee as an " undesirable person" and requesting to keep her under supervision. However, officials of the Singaporean government dismissed these claims, deeming them baseless, and refused to keep her under control.
AZERTAC vehemently condemns and characterize this as a blatant restriction of journalistic activities as well as freedom of speech and expression, and a harsh treatment preventing journalists from fulfilling their duties.
The imposition of these restrictions on our journalist, instilling fear and intimidation, and demonstrating an attitude as if she is a cruel criminal, unmistakably reveals France’s state-level hostility towards fundamental human rights and freedom of speech.