Bill on defamation may be adopted: Azerbaijani MP
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 21 / Trend A.Huseynbala /
The Azerbaijani MP believes the bill on defamation may be adopted.
"If some changes are made, the bill may be adopted," MP Elmira Akhundova told Trend on Oct. 21.
The bill 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.
According to Akhundova, she stands for beginning the discussions on the bill, despite the presence of several shortcomings.
"I am a journalist myself and I would not like to see anyone imprisoned for publishing material," the MP said.
The journalists' punishment for libel and defamation should be governed by the Civil Code, Akhundova said.
"The fact that Azerbaijan has imprisoned journalists affects the image of the country negatively. Recently, dozens of imprisoned journalists were pardoned. I believe the Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy faces difficulties because of the arrest of journalists, Akhundova added.
According to Akhundova, given all mentioned, the bill "On defamation" should be put into a serious discussion and adopted.
"I will do my utmost so that to adopt this law," Akhundova said.
More than 4,000 media outlets have been registered in Azerbaijan. Currently, only 600 of them are functioning. Nearly 400 newspapers and magazines are published and more than 20 television channels function. There are about 50 electronic media outlets, 20 news agencies, and the rest are the Internet resources in Azerbaijan.
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