Number of Judicial Lawsuits against Media Increases in Azerbaijan in April – Report

Azerbaijan, Baku, 5 May / Trend corr. K.Zarbaliyeva / Media Rights Institute (MRI) has released its annual monthly report in April regarding the state of media rights in Azerbaijan. In the report, it states that pressure, threats and judicial lawsuits has increased compared to the previous months in 2008. These problems were observed when obtaining information, as well as set of violations of rights of journalists detained for critical position.

The report stated that threat were observed against Fikrat Huseynli, a journalist of the Azadlig newspaper, Natig Adilov, journalist of the Bizim Yol newspaper, and Musavat newspaper's management. The car of Uzeir Jafarov, editor of Gundalik Azerbaijan newspaper, was burned and he had to discontinue his career because of severe criticism by the Authorities. Agil Khalil, a journalist from Azadlig newspaper, also faced threats by unknown persons

The report states that four lawsuits, one appeal regarding the payment of AZN 200,000 by the media for moral damage have been brought to the Yasamal and Sabayil District Courts against media.

Fardi Murslaov, a member from the Department of Apartment Use Service under the Defense Ministry, demanded the payment of AZN 50,000 from Gundalik Azerbaijan newspaper. Eldar Mammadaliyev, entrepreneur, demanded AZN 10,000 from Tahgigat newspaper, Ilham Sadigov, employee of Azerbaijan edition house, demanded AZN 20,000 from Azadlig newspaper and its employee Elmira Tofiggizi and Ali Haziguliyev, chief editor of Elchi newspaper, demanded AZN 100,000 from Fikrat Faramazoglu, journalist. Haziguliyev also made a court appeal against Faramazoglu for slander and insult.

The appeals on the decisions and sentences made against the journalists by the court were not approved and lawsuits against the journalists were declined.

In the report, the Yasamal District Court did not approve the lawsuit by Yashar Agazade, an employee of Mukhalifat newspaper, against the rector of Baku State University. Neither was the lawsuit approved by Natig Adilov, an employee of Bizim Yol newspaper, against the Baku State University as well as the State Commission on Student Admission. The lawsuit was brought forward as the institutions did not provide the journalist with the necessary information. The Appeal Court of Baku did not approve the appeals brought against the decisions of lower judicial court.

Also rejected was the appeal by Malahat Nasibova, correspondent of Azadlig radio against Nakhchivan, and the sentence made the Yasamal District Court on the appeal by Mehrala Iskandarova, chief editor of Kriminal Alam newspaper and Heinous Crime Court decision against the employee of Bizim Yol newspaper to sentence him to six years of imprisonment.

A lawsuit against the media was canceled in April. The Binagadi Court considered the citizen lawsuit by Fedor Mharramov against Raset Pirisoi, an employee of Sanat gazety newspaper as ungrounded.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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