Need to Suspend Government’s Appropriation of Media in Azerbaijan: OSCE Representative

Society Materials 7 April 2008 13:20 (UTC +04:00)
Need to Suspend Government’s Appropriation of Media in   Azerbaijan: OSCE Representative

Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 April /corr. Trend S.Agayeva / Efforts are being made in Azerbaijan to coerce the press and this must be ceased, Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, briefed the media on 7 April.

Additionally, it needs to remove the articles in the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, which includes punishment for defamation, he said. According to him, the journalists should not be made criminally liable for their professionalism. "We have observed the freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan and have witnessed discrimination of the journalists. The Government should eradicate such negative cases in close co-operation with Azerbaijan," he said.

During the meeting, the representatives of the journalism organizations appealed to the OSCE representative with a request to influence the Government to release the jailed journalists.

The three detained journalists held in Azerbaijan are Ganimat Zahid, chief editor of Azadlig newspaper, Mirza Sakit, a journalist of Azadlig newspaper, and Eynulla Fatullayev, chief editor of Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realni Azerbaijan newspapers.

On 26 March, Eynulla Fatullayev, editor-in-chief of Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers, went on a hunger strike in demand for objective consideration of his case, release of the arrested journalists and for concrete protection measures to be applied by the Council of Europe and OSCE.

The journalists, representatives of political parties and MPs have also joined the hunger strike for the last five consecutive days in support of the editor-in-chief.