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Azerbaijan28 July 2006

Blog that satirizes President Aliev made inaccessible

Internet users in Azerbaijan are currently unable to access, a foreign-based satirical blog with cartoons making fun of President Ilham Aliev and his government, Reporters Without Borders said today. The blog has been rendered inaccessible in the past, forcing its publishers to change their Internet address several times.

“The government clearly does not appreciate a blog that challenges the image the official media present of President Aliev as always smiling and affable,” the press freedom organisation said. “We strongly suspect the Azeri authorities of blocking the Tinsohbeti site, and if this is the case, we call on them to put an end to this censorship.”

As well as cartoons of Aliev, the blog includes articles that openly criticise government policies. But Internet users trying to connect to from inside Azerbaijan today are sent to a page that says, “This web page does not exist” or “The connection to this website is impossible.”

In Azerbaijan, the communications ministry exercises a monopoly of the long-distance telephone network through the state-owned company Aztelcom, and most of the country’s ISPs depend directly on it. It is therefore very easy for the government to ensure implementation of an order blocking an Internet address.

The and websites were rendered inaccessible in this fashion for a while in 2003.

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