CE ready to Assist in Protecting Freedom of Expression: CE Sec-Gen
Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend I.Alizade / The Council of Europe (CE) Baku Office announced that Terry Davis, the CE Secretary-General, stated his concerns about the threat to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
In recent months, several journalists have been imprisoned on charges of criminal defamation or physically attacked in incidents which appear to be related to their work. This worrying trend has culminated on 20 April, when editor Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for an internet posting which was considered to be criminally libelous and insulting. It is unacceptable and greatly damages the international reputation of Azerbaijan.
Governments should protect the truth by guaranteeing that journalists can work safely and freely without any undue influence and pressure from the authorities or anyone else. Freedom of expression is a clear, legally defined concept protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. We are ready to assist the authorities in Azerbaijan in order to help them to bring both their legislation and their administrative and judicial practices in protecting the freedom of expression to the level expected from a member state of the Council of Europe, he emphasized.