“OSCE member states are committed to ensuring the safety of the journalists. The journalists can only succeed  in delivering important reports to the people when they can operate without fear and having their personal and professional safety ensured.

Journalists are becoming the representatives of democracy and freedom,” said acting OSCE Chairman, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ajubalis in the conference held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 7-8 June, 2011. Ajubalis named some of the journalists killed in the line of duty, including Monitor magazine eidtor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov, murdered in 2005.  OSCE Special Representative on Freedom of Media Dunja Mijatovic reported that over 30 journalists had been murdered in last 5 days, and that this is not the only  method used to intimidate journalists.
The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety Chairman Emin Huseynov reported on the various provocations against journalists, which has resulted in arrests. He also noted that the journalists are facing smear campaigns. Speaking about cases of journalists Mirza Sakit, Eynulla Fatullayev and Agil Khalil, Huseynov gave detailed information about his organization’s operation during the course of these cases.

 Without any reference to concrete facts noted in the report, representative of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration Vugar Aliyev proclaimed that freedom of speech is being upheld in Azerbaijan, and that there are numerous opposition newspapers in which officials and the president are criticized.  Aliyev noted that IRFS has also been freely criticizing the government without being subjected to pressures.

The conference was dedicated to issues surrounding the security of journalists in the OSCE region. Representatives of governmental organizations of member countries, NGOs, journalists, heads of international organizations attended the conference.  The situations in the various countries, existing problems in this sector, and concrete incidences were discussed and different proposals were explored during the conference. At the end of the conference, a list of recommendations for OSCE member states was adopted.

Media Rights Institute Chairman Rashid Hajili, Press Council Chairman Aflatun Amashov, Human Rights Club Coordinator Rasul Jafarov, employee of OSCE Office in Baku Vusal Behbudov, as well as Emin Huseynov and Vugar Aliyev attended the conference from Azerbaijan.

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