EU Calls on Azerbaijan not to Restrict Freedom of Media
Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend A. Gasimova / The European Union (EU) backs the call of Miklos Haraszti, OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media, on Azerbaijan to end the application of penal legislation to restrict media freedom in the country. The organization has expressed its regret about the sentencing Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor-in-chief of the opposition Realny Azerbaijan and Gundalik Azerbaijan newspapers to 2.6-year imprisonment. He is charged of libelling the residents of Khojaly (occupied Azerbaijani region) and spread of false facts about occupation of the region.
The EU has mentioned that the major obligation of Azerbaijani authorities is to protect journalists from threat and violation and expressed regret that two more journalists Rafig Taghi and Samir Sadagatoghlu had been detained and sentenced to 4-year and 3-year imprisonment respectively for publication of a philosophical essay in the Sanat newspaper which was allegedly an incitement to national, racial and religious hatred.
The EU has also welcomed the positive developments the EU perceived to emerge from the visits of Miklos Haraszti and Peter Semneby, OSCE Special Representative for South Caucasus, in Baku in April, who were attending the international conference 'Role of Media in Development of Tolerance and Mutual Understanding' organized jointly by the Azerbaijani Government and the General Secretariat of Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The EU has appreciated the open discussions between President Aliyev and Haraszti and the agreement between Foreign Minister Mammadyarov and Semneby on systematic dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan on media-related issues. The EU has welcomed the granting of a license for 6 more years to the private broadcaster ANS TV and Radio.
The EU has called on Azerbaijan to investigate the cases on violence against the journalists and assassination of Elmar Huseynov in particular as well as recent attack on Uzeyir Jafarov.