Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend I.Alizade / Arrest of several journalists cannot be estimated as a state authorities' pressure on press, Ali Hassanov, the head of the Public-Political Department of the Azerbaijani President's Executive Power, said to a conference on Freedom of work and Press in Azerbaijan in the context of local and international laws, which began Baku on 19 November.
"Arrest of three or five journalists in Azerbaijan does not mean that the authorities pressures on press. It is groundless to state about of absence of the freedom of word in the country, where 3,500 newspapers are published. Some persons' rights and dignity are insulated and they appeal to courts," Hassanov said.
Nine journalists were made answerable in connection with their professional activities. The majority of them were accused due to insult and slander. Ganiamt Zahid, the editor-in chief of the newspaper Azadlyg, is the latter in this list.
Hassanov said that the Azerbaijani authorities are concerned on every journalist arrested and are not satisfied with the arrest of media representatives. "I state unilaterally that the Azerbaijani authorities are not interested in the arrest for publications and journalists' activities. Around 30,000 people in Azerbaijan are actively involved in journalism. There evolves a question why 9 people among 30,000? Representatives from the journalism belonging to different camps participate here. If to inquire all of them whether they know a journalist called Nazim Guliyev, they will answer unilaterally there is not such journalist. Let heads of journalist organizations to say how many time Guliyev was taken into custody and why he was arrested lately. If the answers are published then all will know that Guliyev is not a journalist," he said.
The editor-in-chief of the Azerbaijani newspaper Ideal was arrested several days ago.
Hassanov said that at any case arrest of journalists is not good. "If a journalist uses his pen in political, economic and personal purposes, deliberately insults the dignity of an intelligent, then how the law should treat itself? The major principle of the state based on the rule of law is the balance of rights. Any right given to journalists does not mean depriving others from a right of appealing to courts for defense of own honor and dignity.
"Does the secular state deprive the people of their right for appealing to courts? What European country has deprived the people from appealing to courts? Tell me the secular and democratic country where a citizen cannot appeal to court," Hassanov said.