OSCE looks forward to adoption of 'Law on defamation' in Azerbaijan (UPDATE)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 9 / Trend S.Agayeva /
"We look forward to the adoption of the Law on Defamation in Azerbaijan in accordance with the international standards," OSCE Baku Office Head Koray Targay told Trend.
The OSCE Baku Office together with the Azerbaijani Press Council conducted a conference on the decriminalization of defamation through reforming the legislation on May 11, he said. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic also attended the event.
"Our position is that journalists should not be prosecuted for their articles. I believe the adoption of the appropriate law will be an important step in ensuring media freedom in Azerbaijan," Targay said.
A bill on Defamation was developed by MPs, media representatives and lawyers with the support of the OSCE Baku Office in 2005. International organizations believe that Article 147 (defamation) and Article 148 (insult) envisaging criminal liability for insult and slander must be removed from the Criminal Code.
In connection with the adoption of the draft law on defamation, six media organizations -Association of Azerbaijani Journalists, Najaf Najafov Foundation, Center for Journalism and Development, Association of Journalists "Yeni Nesil" (New Generation), Azerbaijani Media Center and Democratic Journalists League - have appealed to Parliament on May 6, 2009. Later, about 400 media representatives and members of the media organizations joined this appeal. The bill was examined by the OSCE.