Journalist Sevinj Vagifgyzy may again be banned to leave the country

January 15th, 2022

Meydan.Tv reporter Sevinj Vagifgizi may again be banned to leave the country. She is accused of “failure to execute a court decision” at the suit of the deputy director of school number 251 Elmira Alandarova. The journalist insists that the claims against her are unlawful.

Alandarova filed a lawsuit against Vagifgyzy back in 2019, demanding an apology, monetary compensation of 2,500 manats, and removal of the video of the April 11, 2018 Presidential election from the network.

The plaintiff’s claim was triggered by a footage of voting at three polling stations in school number 251 published by the online resource Meydan TV under the title: “ELECTION 2018: ‘Deputy director controlling ‘carousel’ in elections'”.

The story showed Alandarova directing groups of teachers around the school on election day.

The court of first instance did not take any sanctions against the journalist, yet, decided only to change the title of the report.

However, the Baku Court of Appeals later reversed the court decision and ordered the journalist to pay a fine of 1,000 manats, remove the video, provide a retraction, and “apologize.” The Supreme Court upheld the verdict.

On January 14, Vagifgyzy was notified by an official letter that the body of the execution of court decisions has applied to the Binagadi district court with the request to prohibit her from leaving the country.

She is accused of “failure to execute the court decision” on the claim of Alandarova. The trial was scheduled in the Binagadi district court on January 24.

Vagifgyzy told the Turan agency that the claims against her are unfounded and unjustified.

According to the journalist, she has paid the court-ordered monetary compensation in full.

As for other claims, she had earlier submitted a certificate from Meydan TV to the execution department of Binagadi district as stating that the video material belongs to this edition and only the editorial board can make decisions on it.

“The materials published on Meydan TV from the date of their distribution belong to it (i.e. the publication itself). Therefore, claims against the journalist are unfounded. She has nothing to do with it. Meydan TV neither prepares materials on demand nor removes them on order. We do not intend to remove the video. Sevinj Vagifgyzy didn’t slander anyone, she only reported facts. We will support her in this matter to the end. And the fact that she is harassed by court proceedings is non other than threat to freedom of expression,” Meydan TV editor Aynur Elgunesh told the Turan news agency.

Varifgyzy has already been banned to leave the country in the 2015-2019 criminal case against Meydan TV. The ECtHR subsequently found this ban unlawful.