Azerbaijani Parliament to Make New Laws to Restrict Information on the Internet

November 19th, 2017

Azerbaijan’s Parliament is preparing to make additions to the Administrative Violations Code.
The additions may introduce a monetary penalty against the owner of the internet information resource or domain for the dissemination of information prohibited from distribution or failure to prevent the dissemination of such information.

The additions have been proposed by Ali Huseynli, the chairman of the Legal Policy and State Building Committee of the Parliament.
The proposed article stipulates fines for individuals and legal entities for the online dissemination of banned information.

It is suggested that the amount of the fine should be 500-1,000 AZN for individuals, 1,000-1,500 AZN for officials and 1,500-2,000 AZN for legal entities.
Penalties are going to be levied for the online publication of information banned from distribution under the Law on Information, Informatisation and Protection of Information.
If an internet information resource is entered into the List of Information Resources that Have Posted Information Banned from Distribution, it should immediately restrict access to any such information that it contains. Otherwise, the host and internet providers will face fines in the amounts of 1,500-2,000 AZN for officials and 2,000-2,500 AZN for legal entities.

This provision will be applied in cases where this offence does not entail criminal responsibility pursuant to the relevant articles of the Criminal Code.
The Law on Telecommunications, the Law on Mass Media and the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting should also be amended in line with the additions proposed to the Administrative Violations Code.
The Culture Committee has recommended the bill for the plenary session.

In March of this year, the Azerbaijani Parliament made amendments to the Law on Information, Informatisation and Protection of Information. These amendments prohibit the spread of certain categories information, which include propagation of terrorism, calls for terrorism, and information on methods and means of carrying out terrorist acts. Similarly, it is prohibited to disseminate information that propagates violence, religious extremism or ethnic, racial or religious hatred or hostility and explicit calls for violation of territorial integrity, violent coup and organisation of mass riots. Information on state secrets and methods of preparation and use of weapons and drugs, as well as pornographic materials are also included in the list of prohibited information.
In accordance with the above changes, the relevant executive power body (the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies) has been delegated powers.

According to the bill, when identifying the dissemination of banned information on a website, the executive power body will make a written warning to the owner of the information resource and the provider. Unless such information is removed from the website within 8 hours of the warning, the executive power body will appeal to the court to restrict access to the information resource concerned.