Azerbaijan, Baku, Trend A.Huseynbala /
Azerbaijani MP considers important to submit the bill on defamation to public discussions.
Non-discussion of the draft law in public will cause serious problems in the society. The bill is of interest of all layers of the society, Ganira Pashayeva, Azerbaijani MP, member of a working group on development of a draft law on defamation, said
The draft law on defamation was prepared with the support of the OSCE Baku Office in 2005. The working group designing the bill includes MPs Ganira Pashayeva and Azay Guliyev, representatives of journalist organizations and law scientists.
International organizations believe that Article 147 (defamation) and 148 (insult), which proposes criminal responsibility, should be removed from the country's Criminal Code.
The discussions should focus on study of public opinion regarding the provisions of the bill, Pashayeva added.
It is necessary to study the public opinion on the issue when a journalist is not made answerable for libel, but bear criminal responsibility only paying fine, Pashayeva added.
The consideration of the bill may appear on agenda of the parliament only after studying public attitudes in this regard, Pashayeva said.
"You may remember, the removal of the death penalty in Azerbaijan caused serious discussions. Some thought that the abolition of the death penalty would increase the number of grave crimes, though others urged these issues were not interrelated. Only after comprehensive discussions it was possible to repeal the death penalty in the country, Pashayeva said.
The public debate on the bill on defamation is of no less importance, Pashayev added
"After adopting this law, a person libeled by journalist may consider the punishment as insufficient and punish journalist by own means. We must prevent such problems to emerge," Pashayeva said.
All journalist associations dealing with issues of journalism should take an active part in the public discussions, Pashayeva said.
More than 3,300 media outlets have been registered in Azerbaijan. Currently, only 600 of them function. Nearly 400 newspapers and magazines are published and more than 20 television channels are aired. Azerbaijan has about 50 electronic media outlets, 20 news agencies, and the rest are Internet resources.
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