July 14th, 2011
"Is Azerbaijan ready to host the Eurovision-2012?"  was the theme of the session of the Coordinating Council of the country’s media sector held on July 13 in AF-Hotel in Novkhany, Baku. The event was organized with support from IREX and International Media Support.

IREX lawyer Alaskar Mammadli brought up the lack of favorable conditions for the foreigners to visit and work in Azerbaijan. According to him, both visa regime and accreditation of journalists should be simplified.

Turan news agency director Mehman Aliyev said that Azerbaijan’s huge money reserve would allow holding the contest in the country. However, he said that the country’s image is also important, as the Europe sees Azerbaijan as a country lacking democracy.

Public TV representative Salam Mammadaliyev said that his TV is fully ready to air the contest and that it has already obtained great experience in this sphere.
“” website editor Emin Guliyev believes that there is a need to update the servers of all news agencies, as well as to increase the quality of internet.

The head of the NGO "Multimedia" Osman Gunduz said that neither internet nor communication sphere in Azerbaijan is ready to meet Eurovision. He has sent an appeal to the head of the organizational committee of the contest Mehriban Aliyeva about the current speed and quality of internet in Azerbaijan.

The head of the Institute of Reporters Freedom and Safety Emin Huseynov drew attention to the latest incidents with foreign journalists, which may create problems for covering the contest by foreign media. In April the Azerbaijani authorities deported Swedish journalists, and in June two British journalist and American human rights defender were beaten, and recently German journalists had to leave the country because of harassment in Nakhchivan.

Extreme Journalism Institute head, journalist Idrak Abbasov emphasized the need to put an end to the persecution of the journalists and bloggers, as well as youth activists showing up in social networking sites. According to him, Public TV should not limit its news coverage to the appreciation of several persons.

Military expert Uzeyir Jafarov spoke that Azerbaijan does not have sufficient hotels and accommodation to host the guests.

Journalists’ Trade Union head Mushfig Alaskarli commented on the opinions of he preceding speakers and said that he sees no serious problem for Azerbaijan to host Eurovision.