AMBASSADOR’S STATEMENT DISTORTED IN PRO-GOVERNMENT PRESS

February 19th, 2008
On 15 February 2008 the local press, particularly pro-government newspapers reported that Ali Ahmadov, Executive Secretary of the ruling “Yeni Azerbaijan” Party (YAP), met with Switzerland's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mr. Alain Guidetti on 14 February.

According to some reports, during the two men’s conversation Mr. Alain Guidetti emphasized that press and speech freedom is fully provided in Azerbaijan, and assessed the existence of great possibilities provided for journalists' free activity as something praiseworthy.    
The Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety addressed an appeal to Mr. Alain Guidetti asking him to clarify clearly his position on this matter. The appeal contained information about IRFS' and other influential international organizations' positions on speech and press freedom in Azerbaijan, stating that the situation is not positive.  
Today IRFS received a response from Switzerland's embassy to Azerbaijan. According to the ambassador's assistant Lala Bayramova, Mr. Alain Guidetti read our appeal. L. Bayramova relayed the ambassador’s response to us. "He confirms meeting with Ali Ahmadov, but says the press-release doesn't reflect accurately his statements," said Bayramova.