Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Azerbaijan 4 December 2006

Open letter to Ilham Aliev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Paris, 4 December 2006

Dear Mr. President,

Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, would like to express to you its deep concern about the recent deterioration in press freedom in your country.

You said in a recent interview on state television that “no one should doubt freedom of expression and press freedom in Azerbaijan.” Unfortunately, the crackdown on independent journalists and media which began in October and which has taken a dramatic turn since 24 November forces us to question what you said.

The newspaper Azadlig was under constant threat of eviction from its premises from October onwards. The threat was carried out on 24 November on the decision of the Baku economic court. Azadlig, the news agency Turan and the newspaper Bizim Yol were evicted and told to move to new premises assigned to them by the government. On arriving at the new premises, they found they were already occupied. The work of these media has been seriously disrupted, especially as part of their equipment and archives were damaged or lost in the move.

The National Television and Radio Council announced on 24 November that it was withdrawing the licence of ANS, the leading independent TV station. ANS stopped broadcasting the same day. As the BBC, RFE/RL and Voice of America were retransmitted on ANS’s channels, the withdrawal of the licence meant these radio stations have also been silenced.

The independent, opposition and foreign media are being systematically targeted by these repressive measures, which show that the Azeri authorities are taking a harder line on free expression and press freedom despite the appeals from press freedom organisations, and representatives of the European Union, the OSCE and the United States.

Mr. President, we call on you to intervene to ensure that the press freedom is respected in Azerbaijan. We would also like to inform of our intention to follow the situation closely and to help Azerbaijan’s independent media. We are particularly conscious of the danger that these restrictions could affect the 2008 presidential election.

We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard Secretary-General




  In this country
28 May - Azerbaijan
Court breaks law by refusing to release journalist on health grounds
9 April - Azerbaijan
Mirza Sakit Zahidov finally released
2 March - Azerbaijan
Four years after editor’s murder, investigators have achieved nothing
6 February - Azerbaijan
Court rejects early release for jailed newspaper reporter
22 January - Azerbaijan
Four journalists threatened and expelled from Nakhchivan for trying to investigate disappearance of mother and son

in the annual report
Azerbaijan - Annual Report 2008
Azerbaijan - Annual report 2007
Azerbaijan - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

Reports
5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison
archives

Sign the petitions
Uzbekistan
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives