INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT ON HARRASSMENT OF JOURNALISTS IN NAKHCHIVAN

July 16th, 2011
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety strongly condemns the violence against the journalists by the Sharur District Executive Power and Police Office employees on July 15, 2011.

Specifically, IRFS regional correspondent Hakimeldsotu Mehdiyev informed that the police and local executive police officers cut off power supply to his apartment and the car-washing service station. IRFS correspondent Elman Abbasov and Turan news agency employee Ilgar Nasibov, who arrived at the scene at the time of incident, saw the destruction of electricity pillar near the house and photographed and filmed the developments. However, the police employees unexpectedly attacked the journalists, seized their photo and video cameras. a Nikon D-90 camera owned by IRFS was broken. Journalists Elman Abbasov was attacked several times and beaten, but the local resident succeeded in saving him from the police and hide him in their houses. However, Ilgar Abbasov was detained and forced into a police car where he was tortured and insulted for 15 minutes.
To note, the pressures on the journalists kicked off after the visit of “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” correspondent, political commentator Michael Ludwig to Nakhchivan. Ludwig had to leave Nakhchivan as a result of pressures imposed by local authorities. The fact tha the foreign journalist was accompanied by Mehdiyev at his visit to Sadarak region disappointed the local authorities, who then decided to punish him.
IRFS calls on the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic authorities to be tolerant against the journalists, create favorable conditions for journalists and punish those who pressure on them. IRFS also calls on the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev to intervene in the situation of the media in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, ensure safe conditions for journalists’ operation and punish those who pressure on journalists as well.
 
IRFS believes that the said incident will furthermore detorioate the image of Azerbaijan, which is not encouraging and such an incident is not a plus for Azerbaijan on the eve of Eurovision 2012 that will be hosted by Azerbaijan.