FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION FORUM

March 29th, 2011
Today the Azerbaijan Democratic Party office held a forum in support of freedom of speech and expression, with the participation of the local civil society institutions, media agencies and political party representatives.

Azadlig editor Ganimat Zahid opened the event and spoke about the harrasment of journalists working in Azerbaijan. He mentioned the violence against Azadlig reporter Seymur Haziyev, and recalled several other incidents.
Turan news agency director Mehman Aliyev spoke about yesterday’s meeting with Interior Minister regarding the violence against journalist Seymur Haziyev. “According to the Minister, there is a third party standing in the way of resolution. With the aim of ensuring that the investigation upholds principles of transparency, Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili and Haziyev’s lawyer have been included in the investigation team,” noted Aliyev. He also spoke about the imposition of court fines against the media, which represent additional pressures against media activity.
 Journalist Haziyev described his assault as a part of the systematic pressure against journalist. He directly blamed the law-enforcement agencies.
Head of the Democratic Party, Sardar Jalaloglu, said that they had given the police the names of those responsible for such crimes, but that these crimes remain unsolved.
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party Chairman Ali Karimli said that the independent media plays a decisive role in society, despite its limited capacity for activity. Head of the National Union Lale Shovkat supported him.