February 23rd, 2009
Today, 23 February, in the Azerbaijan Media Center, at the initiative of the “Elections Monitoring and Democracy Education” Organization, a forum for citizens about the referendum to be conducted on 18 March was conducted. EMDE Chairman Anar Mammedli opened the event, speaking about the registration of initiative groups and discrimination in connection with campaigning.

“The cessation of FM radio broadcasts of foreign radio stations prior to the referendum, in addition to being an attack on freedom of expression, deprives initiative groups of equal opportunities to campaign,” said Mammedli.
Institute for Peace and Democracy Chairperson Leyla Yunus, noting the arrest of one person in Sabirabad who was gathering signatures for the registration an initiative group, said there are not equal opportunities for people with differing opinions about the referendum. Yunus also noted that limitation on freedom assembly have not been eliminated.
Other participants in the event said that their have been serious law violations regarding conduction of the referendum, and expressed that these cast doubt on the transparency of the referendum.