INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

January 16th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the gunfire by the Armenian Military against Azerbaijani journalists while they were fulfilling their professional duty.

The incident happened on 14 January 2009, at around 4:30 p.m., when employees of "Azad Azerbaijan" (ATV) and "Lider" TV channels (ATV correspondent Hafiz Huseynoglu and operator Eldaniz Valiyev, "Lider" TV operator Ilgar Salmanoglu and Habil Aslanoglu) came under gunfire on a border between Armenian and Azerbaijani military units in the Agdam region of Azerbaijan. The civilian-clothed journalists came under fire as they attempted to film the construction of a church by Armenians in the occupied Shahbulag village of the Agdam region of Azerbaijan. The journalists were able to escape the fire because of counter gunfire from the Azerbaijani military.
IRFS considers that media representatives have right to independently collect information although Azerbaijan and Armenia are in the situation of war. Even in the hottest zones – in the areas where open wars are conducted – the journalists can exercise right to gather and disseminate information.
IRFS condemns the Armenian military, which fired at the journalists, and calls on them to respect the journalists’ right to obtain information based on international legislation.