Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 16 / Trend A.Huseynbala /
The European Council believes that a defamation law must be passed in Azerbaijan.
"We do not think journalists should be held criminally responsible for their articles," the European Council Secretary General's Special Envoy to Azerbaijan Veronica Kotek told journalists today.
Six media organizations, including New Generation, League of Democratic Journalists, Center for Journalism and Development, Center for Media in Azerbaijan and the Najaf Najafov Fund appealed to parliament this year regarding the adoption of the bill "On Defamation."
Later roughly 400 representatives of media and journalistic organizations joined the appeal. The bill received OSCE appraisal.
International organizations believe that Article 147 (defamation) and Article 148 (affront) should be excluded from the Azerbaijani Penal Code.
If the law is adopted, journalists should not think that they are relieved of their responsibilities, Kotek said. When it comes to defamation, respect for an individual's reputation should be the basis, she added.
"In some countries defamation is termed as protection of reputation," she declared. "Journalists will take a more responsible attitude toward their duties if the law is adopted. They should realize what is inadmissible in their professional career."
The special envoy added that adopting the law is important for both society and journalists.
Over 4,000 media outlets are registered in Azerbaijan. Only 600 function.
Nearly 400 newspapers and magazines are published and over 20 television channels operate. There are 50 electronic media outlets and 20 news agencies.
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