Freedom of speech, press ensured in Azerbaijan: top official
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 7
Freedom of speech is fully ensured in Azerbaijan and the state is taking all necessary steps to stimulate the activity of civil society institutions, Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov said.
He made the remarks May 7 at the 15th meeting of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in Baku.
He said the main goal has been set in Azerbaijan – creation of a rule of law and democratic state, political pluralism, formation of civil society and free economic relations.
“The position of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is that in modern times, political pluralism, a liberal economic system and a strong civil society are the main means that ensure dynamic development of any country,” Hasanov noted. “That is why Azerbaijan pursues a consistent policy to strengthen democratic principles, promote human rights and freedoms, further develop civil society institutions and stimulate their activities. Fifty-five political parties, over 3,000 non-governmental organizations (more than 4,000 non-profit organizations), over 5,000 media outlets, as well as trade unions that bring together about two million people have been registered in Azerbaijan.”
He stressed that the Azerbaijani government, if necessary, conducts a dialogue with political parties represented and not represented in the parliament.
“Pluralism is a characteristic feature of modern Azerbaijani society,” he added. “Favorable conditions have been created in Azerbaijan for the free activity of political parties. Their activity is regulated by the Constitution, the Civil Code, the Electoral Code, the Law on Political Parties, the Law on State Registration and the Registry of Legal Entities, and other legal acts, as well as international treaties to which Azerbaijan has acceded.”
“The law defines very simple requirements for the registration of political parties,” Hasanov said.
He reminded that in May 2012, amendments to the Law on Political Parties came into force, according to which the Azerbaijani budget allocates funds every year to finance the activities of political parties.
Hasanov added that more than 40 political parties are in opposition to the incumbent government. Eleven parties, including seven opposition parties, are represented in the Azerbaijani parliament, he said.
Candidates from six parties participated in the presidential election held in Azerbaijan April 11, Hasanov noted.
Speaking about activities of the media outlets, Hasanov noted that after Azerbaijan gained independence in the early 90s, ensuring freedom of speech and information, the formation of a democratic, pluralistic press, the creation of its regulatory and legal framework, the provision of economic independence became the main directions of the state policy.