After a few years of non-activity, the Union of Editors has restored its operation. It re-launched today, in a meeting at the IRFS press center, and will now be working under the leadership of Turan News Agency director Mehman Aliyev.
Editors of multiple independent press outlets attended the event.
Today’s meeting discussed the criminal case against Gundam Khabar newspaper initiated by the Press Council, IRFS director Emin Huseynov’s appeal to the Press Council, the assault of journalists in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and new projects on the observation media ethics.
“The Press Council should investigate the appeals by the media rather than working against them. I was summoned to the Anti-Corruption Commission of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan after to a complaint filed by the Press Council. The Tax Audit Department has launched a criminal case against me under charges of tax evasion and the abuse of power. I have submitted all the financial documents of the newspaper to both organizations. I have no idea which article provoked this,” said Gundam Khabar newspaper editor Shirin Jafari.
Editor of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspaoers Eynulla Fatullayev, who spent 4 years in prison, said that this is a familiar story. “The Press Council appealed to the National Security Ministry before I got sent to jail.”
The editors decided to appeal to the Journalists’ Trade Union for an independent audit of Gundam Khabar newspaper; and the defense of the rights of newspaper staff along with material and legal assistance for journalists. Additionally, a report should be prepared on the legality of the actions of Press Council, the Ministry of Taxes and the General Prosecutor’s Office.
The editors stated that the Press Council’s current operation is not satisfactory. It was noted that Editors Union should consider the appeals and assess them in accordance with international norms. “Praising the government is accepted as conforming to ethical rules, criticism of the government is deemed a violation,” said Turan News Agency director Mehman Aliyev.
The editors also commented on the Press Council’s position on the article published in Yeni Azerbaijan newspaper about IRFS director Emin Huseynov on June 17th.
“I was insulted in the article published in this newspaper. I appealed to the President and the head of the Presidential Administration. I asked them whether the article published in Yeni Azerbaijan newspaper conformed with the ethics of media operations,” said Huseynov. “I appealed to the Press Council, but they defended the newspaper.”
The editors decided to examine the said article to ascertain whether it follows legal and ethic rules. They agreed to meet twice a month.