AZERBAIJAN REP. IN UN STRESSES THAT AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS FREEDOM OF SPEECH

March 13th, 2008
According to APA, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech Ambei Ligabo expressed his opinions about the situation of Human Rights and Freedoms in Azerbaijan to the UN Human Rights Council.

Ligabo stated that last year he witnessed some problems in the media sector of the country while he was visiting Azerbaijan. He emphasized that the law on defamation in the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan and the imprisonment of journalists were disturbing facts, and said that negotiations have been carried out on this matter with Azeri officials.
Ligabo said that the U.N. encouraged the Azerbaijani government to remove defamation article from the Criminal Code and to take some measures to ensure the safety of journalists. However, Ligabo assessed the existence of a broad press network and the ability expression of different opinions in the media as something positive in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan's permanent representative to the U.N., Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov stressed in his speech in the Geneva office of the U.N. that Azerbaijan’s government pays a great deal of attention to speech freedom and development of the independent press. The ambassador added that some problems occur because of the low professional level of journalists. He added that most of the imprisoned journalists weren't arrested because of their professional work. He said negotiations are being carried out on removing the article about defamation from the Criminal Code.