Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr I. Ali-zade / Passing of the Law on Defamation may result in tens of murders of journalists within year, such as the murder of Elmar Huseynov, the chief editor of the Monitor magazine, Ali Hasanov, the head of the political and social department at the Executive Administration of the Azerbaijani President, said at the international conference on Freedom of Speech and Press in Azerbaijan in Terms of Local and International Law which began in Baku on 19 November.
"In case of the people with Azerbaijani mentality and Caucasus temperament are deprived of the right to apply to court, tens of Elmars Huseynov will occur in Azerbaijan within a year, for professionalism of the journalists is at a low level," he said.
The chief editor of Azerbaijani Monitor magazine Elmar Huseynov was shot not far from his house on 2 March 2005. The customer and the killer are still free.
The Law on Defamation envisages abolishment of criminal responsibility for insult and defamation.
According to Hasanov, Azerbaijan's further aim is to pass the Law on Defamation, but providing the Azerbaijani journalists undertake the responsibility to speak for the people deprived of the right to apply to court. "If people cannot apply to court to protect their honour and dignity, they will apply to the journalists who insulted them," he said.
Hasanov justified the judges who sentenced journalists to imprisonment. "What should a judge do in case a citizen proves at court that his honour and dignity had been purposely insulted? Should he praise the journalist and advise him to continue? If the law envisages criminal responsibility for such actions, the judge must arrest the defendant. Azerbaijani journalists can be made answerable because the Law on Defamation has not been passed in the country товать обвиняемого по этому вос этому воспросуе так делай? ьия и клевеута презиеднтаатить," Hasanov said.
Azerbaijan is waiting for experienced and advanced Europe to pass and enact the Law on Defamation. The level of responsibility of Azerbaijani journalists prevents the Government from passing the Law on Defamation, he said. "Azerbaijani journalists have not achieved professionalism. They do not realize where the rights of other people begin and end and do not know what to write about. European journalists are not arrested because they possess very high professionalism," he said.