AZERBAIJAN’S NUMEROUS PRESS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS DOCUMENTED IN U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT’S ANNUAL HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

March 11th, 2008
Yesterday the U.S. State Department unveiled its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The section devoted to Azerbaijan is quite sizeable, and includes extensive documentation of press freedom violations that occurred in 2007, as well progress on the investigations into events even prior to 2007, like the 2005 murder of "Monitor" Journal Chief Editor Elmar Huseynov.
 
According to the State Department, "the media freedom environment significantly deteriorated during the year." The State Department wrote that while "the law provides for freedom of speech and of the press and specifically prohibits press censorship; the government often did not respect these rights in practice."  
 
The report then goes on to briefly cite many of the incidents in this area that occurred in 2007, for example the arrest of "Gundalik Azerbayjan" and "Realny Azerbayjan" newspapers' Editor-in-Chief Eynulla Fatullayev, and the subsequent closure of Fatullayev's two newspapers, the violent attack on Fatullayev's colleague Uzeir Jafarov, and the arrests of Nakhchivani journalists Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev of "Yeni Musavat" Newspaper and Ilgar Nasibov of "Radio Liberty."
 
To view this report in its entirety, go to: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100548.htm .