The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety strongly condemns the use of physical harassment against Yeni Musavat newspaper reporter Elmin Bedelov and Milli Yol newspaper and pia.az website’s deputy editor Anar Garayli while they were doing their professional work, and evaluates this as a conspiracy against media.
The journalists stated that they were beaten and received injuries while they were preparing reportage of a rich neighborhood in Mardakan. They wanted to photograph the Transportation Minister Ziya Mammadov’s villa, but the photo camera belonging to the editorial office of Yeni Musavat newspaper was damaged.
IRFS declares that impeding a journalist’s work is a violation of freely gather and disseminate information. This is contradictory to article 50 (freedom of information) of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic, article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention of Human Rights, and article one (everyone has right to legally seek, obtain, transfer, prepare and disseminate information) of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic. Interference with journalists’ professional activity also calls for criminal responsibility under article 163 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (interference in professional work of journalists).
IRFS notes that both the interference in the journalists’ legal professional work and the physical pressure against them are criminal cases, and therefore the people behind these actions should be punished in accordance with legislation.
IRFS calls on the Azerbaijani government and law enforcement organs to respect local and international laws, to create the proper conditions for journalists to do their work, and to fully prosecute perpetrators.