CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF WORLD ASSOCIATION OF NEWSPAPERS SAY FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS UNDER THREAT IN AZERBAIJAN

September 25th, 2009
Yesterday, 24 September, Executive Director of Association of World Newspapers Timothy Balding held a press conference in Baku.

Newspapers Timothy Balding held a press conference in Baku.
According to Radio Liberty, Balding said that he held several meetings in Baku, and different media representatives did not leave the meeting optimistically. He added that they have been observing changes in the media sector in Azerbaijan for several years.
”The problem concerning us is the lack of developed strong, free press, and the work situation is dangerous for journalists,” emphasized T.Balding. “We would want that the three imprisoned journalists to be released and imprisoned bloggers’s justification to be insured in Azerbaijan. We would like that the physical attacks and other threats against journalists to be avoided and the press representatives to not be involved in court trials.”

Balding emphasized that they asked Ali Hasanov, the Head of the Socio-Political Department of Presidential Administration, to deliver their message to the president to release the three imprisoned journalists.   
”Mr Hasanov promised that he will discuss the problem regarding bloggers with the president and will do his best to stop the lawsuits against them,” said Executive Director of Association of World Newspapers T.Balding. “If the government does not keep its promise, they will raise this issue before the Council of Europe, OSCE and other organizations.
According to T.Balding, Ali Hasanov said that the newspapers published by the government will be ceased eventually.
Head of the Socio-Political Department of Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov told APA that he did not say anything regarding closing of the governmental newspapers yesterday, on 24 September.
“I noted that official state newspapers publish the decisions issued by the government, work, and draft laws. I added that if “political press” notion is eliminated in Azerbaijan in the future, we might not need official governmental newspapers,” said Ali Hasanov.