Article for Criminal Responsibility of Journalists Necessary for Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku / Тrend corr S. Ilhamgizi / Ali Hasanov, the head of the Social Political Department of the President's Executive Administration of Azerbaijan, stated to journalists on 7 May that freedom of speech and press was not threatened in Azerbaijan. He was commenting on a statement by the US Deputy Secretary of State, Barry Levington, on the threat of freedom of speech and press in Azerbaijan.
According to Hasanov, the Azerbaijani Government guarantees the freedom of speech and press in Azerbaijan. The unpleasant incidents that have taken place in Azerbaijan with journalists have nothing to do with media.
As to the non-inclusion of the criminal article on calumny into the Bill on Amnesty, Hasanov said that journalists deliberately libelling people are unlikely to reform. "If society fails to prevent the facts, then the article providing criminal responsibility of journalists is necessary. For this reason the article was not included into the Bill on Amnesty," Hasanov said.
Hasanov added that the draft law "State Assistance in Development of Press" developed by the Council of Press was still under discussion.