June 19th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the failure to allow the Civil Society Defense Committee to hold a peaceful picket in front of the parliament today, intentional delays in admitting accredited mass media representatives into the parliament session, and the refusal to let other mass media representatives stand near the parliament building. Police did not even allow NGO representatives to read out loud their resolution in connection with the picket conducted against proposed amendments to the Azerbaijan Republic’s Law on Non-governmental Organizations and Mass Media.

IRFS believes that these actions represent violations of freedom of expression, which is envisaged in Article 50 of Azerbaijan’s Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention, as well as Article 163 of Azerbaijan Criminal Code (interference in the professional work of journalist). In addition, IRFS believes these actions violate articles 58 and 49 of Azerbaijan’s Constitution (Freedom of Association and Assembly), and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression).
IRFS calls for Azerbaijan’s government to respect legislation, to not violate people’s rights to freedom assembly and expression, and to create conditions for journalists to fulfill their professional work and citizens to freely assemble and express themselves.