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Azerbaijan16 June 2004

Two journalists in Nakhichevan suffer systematic harassment

Reporters Without Borders has called on the chairman of the Supreme Council (Mejlis) of the autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, Vasif Talibov, to act to protect journalists after two correspondents complained of relentless harassment.

Malahat Nasibova, correspondent for the press agency TURAN and the US station Radio Free Europe, along with Mohammed Rzayev, correspondent for the opposition daily Azadlig in Nakhichevan said on 14 June 2004, that they had suffered systematic harassment for two months.

Nakhichevan is an autonomous republic of Azerbaijan - an enclave between Armenia and Iran.

The international press freedom organisation urged Talibov to guarantee the safety of journalists and to ensure that they could work normally free from official pressure.

Nasibova and Rzayev have said they have been threatened every time they report on the harassment of the local opposition, whose members are regularly physically attacked and arrested by police.

Each time they report the facts, police summon the journalists or telephone to tell them to stop covering the harassment. The journalists’ families have also received telephoned insults or threats that they will lose their jobs. Nasibova said she got phone calls and Internet messages that she risked "mourning family members" unless she stopped criticising the authorities.

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