Azerbaijan, Baku, 22 May / Trend, I. Izzet /
A round table discussion titled 'Human Rights Reforms: the Prospects of Defamation Laws' was held in Baku on Wednesday.
The event was supported by the Azerbaijan Lawyers Confederation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan and the American Bar Association (ABA).
The chairman of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan Azay Guliyev said the discussion of the law on defamation is important and that the views of all parties are considered.
The head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Social and Political Department, Ali Hasanov described the preparation of the law on defamation, the law's importance and explained the positions of international organizations and Azerbaijan with regards to this law.
During the event, presentations were also delivered by the Director of Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID Azerbaijan Ronald Glass, chairman of the Azerbaijan Lawyers Confederation, deputy of Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan Ali Guseynli, chairman of the Press Council Aflatun Amashev, head of the ABA Representation in Azerbaijan Robert Stier, head of the OSCE Office in Baku Koray Targay .
Ambassador Koray Targay noted that freedom of speech and press are the most important among the basic principles of OSCE.
"This issue has been discussed in Azerbaijan for years. I believe the parliament should hold serious discussions on this topic. The Milli Majlis represents the national will, therefore, it is wrong to criticize. Hopefully, official work will start in the next few days," Targay said.
He noted that the press in Azerbaijan has not yet reached the level of professionalism.
He also said the OSCE will continue its negotiations with the Milli Majlis and civil society.
"The main objective for us is to ensure freedom of speech and expression in the Azerbaijani press," he said.
The event also discussed strengthening the platform of constructive social dialogue between the government and civil society as well as issues related to the prospect of ensuring human rights and freedom of expression.