On May 22, Azadliq newspaper leadership held a press conference at Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) in connection with dire financial situation the newspaper is facing.
According to the editor of the newspaper Rahim Hajiyev, the newspaper became cash-strapped after print media distributor Gasid failed to pay for sold copies since April of 2012.
“Gasid currently owes us 70,000 AZN, but cannot afford to pay it. Azadliq staff held numerous protests against this in front of Gasid’s office. Every time the firm’s leadership promised to pay the debt, but so far failed to keep their word. To give you a clear idea about the newspaper’s financial hardships, I let you know that the 30 employees of the newspaper have not received salary for the recent two months,” Hajiyev noted.
The editor stressed that the newspaper’s sale in metro stations has been banned, mobile vending has been restricted, the State Support Fund for Mass Media put an end to cooperation with the newspaper and it has been virtually deprived of all financial sources.
“Azerbaijan publishing company declines to print Azadliq due to our 18,000 AZN debt amassed because of Gasid’s failure to pay our money. Gasid pays us only 1,000 AZN a week which is a very small amount. That’s why its debt mounted till 70,000 AZN,” Hajiyev added.
Hajiyev said the main purpose of this press conference was to appeal to the public with regard to the difficult situation of the newspaper. “This is the last resort. We do not have another option, anyway. The public always supported Azadliq at difficult times and we are hopeful that they will support this independent newspaper in its struggle for survival,” Hajiyev concluded.