September 19th, 2008
“Mediaforum” fixed tariff for political advertisements related to the presidential elections to be conducted next month, and then “Internews Azerbaijan” appealed to the Central Election Commission (CEC) and reported official information about this. However, during a meeting conducted by the CEC Press Group on 18 September the appeal was turned down and Mediaforum thus be unable to place political advertisements on its site.

Site Director Azer Garachenli told the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety that the main reason indicated was that “Media Forum” project is financed by foreign entities, including the National Endowment for Democracy.  

Law and Development Public Union Chairman Hafiz Hasanov and Media Rights Institute representative Khalid Agaliyev gave commentary on the Central Election Commission Press Group’s decision regarding the placement of pre-election propaganda materials on “Media Forum” site.

Law and Development Public Union Chairman Hafiz Hasanov called the decision of the CEC Press Group is illegal. “According to articles 74.4.1 and 90 of Election Code, along with several subjects, foreign countries, foreign legal and physical persons, and according to the situation up to the day when the decision on determining elections officially is published, legal persons of Azerbaijan Republic which have more than foreign legal and physical participation (property) share of 30 %, are banned from pre-election campaign,” he said.  

It is noted in the opinion of Media Rights Institute representative Khalid Agaliyev that pre-election campaign should be carried out according to article 47 (freedom of expression) of the Constitution. “This is even reflected in the article 74 of the Election Code. Election Commission Center needs think hard before issuing any decision related to freedom of expression.”