IRFS APPEALS TO U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE

May 4th, 2009
Today the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety sent an appeal to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in connection Azerbaijan Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammedyarov’s 4-5 May 2009 official trip to Washington D.C.

In the appeal, IRFS requested that in meetings with Mammedyarov, Clinton and other U.S. officials bring up the severe deteriorations observed in the area of media freedom and urge Mammedyarov to tell Azerbaijan’s government to:
    immediately restore the FM broadcasts of VOA, RFERL and BBC
    release Azerbaijan’s four wrongfully imprisoned journalists
    decriminalize defamation
•    prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all people responsible for attacking journalists and violating journalists’ rights
    eliminate the ban on foreign broadcasters in Azerbaijan’s national media market
    diversify the programming on Public TV
    create Public TV 2
    privatize AZTV and Idman-Azerbayjan TV channels
    conduct more transparent and fair tenders for the opening of TV and radio stations
•    annul changes made to Azerbaijan’s Constitution and the laws on Mass Media and Tele-radio Broadcasting that limit press freedom