INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

September 8th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety congratulates all media representatives working in Azerbaijan in connection with 8 September International Solidarity Day of Journalists and calls on them to demonstrate solidarity and unite in the fight for freedom of speech.   

IRFS considers that not only the government’s merciless position towards independent press, but also the lack of solidarity among journalists is to blame for the miserable state of freedom of speech in Azerbaijan. And this solidarity has been decreased year by year.
IRFS believes that the media community should gather and discuss the cases that created the present miserable situation and the latest incidents that happened in the media sector during recent years and should define a unique strategy for finding ways of solution.
IRFS considers that the government should demonstrate political will to fundamentally solve issues in the sector of media and freedom of speech. Although different organs and funds to develop mass media have been created recently, and financial assistance has been provided, the persecution of people for expressing their opinions freely shows that all these steps are taken to show the international community that they are nice.
IRFS calls on Azerbaijan’s government to not be aggressive against independent media, and to immediately free all persons that have been thrown into prison on spurious charges for expressing free speech including “Azadlig” Newspaper Editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahid, Editor-in-chief of “Gundalik Azerbaijan” and “Realniy Azerbaijan” Newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev, “Bizim Yol” newspaper correspondent Mushfig Huseynov, and two imprisoned bloggers – Emin MIlli and Adnan Hajizade.
IRFS congratulates the imprisoned media representatives for the International Solidarity Day of Journalists and hopes that they will be released soon.