Azerbaijan, Baku, May 11 / Trend K. Zarbaliyeva /
Baku hosts conference on "Decriminalization of defamation by means of legislative reforms" today. It is organized by the OSCE Baku office and the Azerbaijani Press Council.
"The activity of the Press Council over the last few years to increase pluralism in the media, to improve journalism in society and to ensure the participation of this institution in the socio-political processes is significant," the head of the department on social and political issues of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov said.
He said that the adoption of the Law on Defamation does not lead to irresponsibility in the activity of journalists.
"After the censorship was liquidated in Azerbaijan in 1998, the society had the opinion that media problems in Azerbaijan were resolved this way," he said. "Afterwards, journalists and creative people can write what they want. In principle, it is so. If the activity of a journalist is censored, it is abnormal. At the same time, if a journalist first speaks and then thinks, it is also abnormal. After censorship was liquidated, Azerbaijani journalism faced serious challenges. Previously, the censorship saved journalists from the confrontation and clashes with citizens in the court. But now the elimination of censorship immediately incites the journalist to clash with an object, a citizen and an organization he writes about. Therefore, tension between journalists and citizens has increased at a legal level."
He said that it deals with the issue of making an action similar to the elimination of censorship.
One of the OSCE fundamental principles is the freedom of press, the head of the OSCE Baku office, Ali Bilge Cankorel, said.
"Freedom of press may not always be limited," he said. "Restricting the press is only possible within the law."
He said that this restriction can only be applied to protect human honor and dignity.
Defamation is a significant issue for the society, the OSCE special representative on freedom of media and speech Dunja Mijatovic said. She said that public officials must create an opportunity for civil society development.
She said that defamation, its decriminalization, ensuring freedom of expression of journalists must be resolved in accordance with the interests of Azerbaijani citizens.
Politicians and public figures must express tolerance in this issue, she said.