Media Rights Institute has released a statement expressing “disappointment” about the “unfounded” proposed changes and amendments to the Azerbaijan Republic laws on “Mass Media” and “State Fees,” and calling for the removal of these from Milli Mejlis’ agenda.
In the statement it is written that this is the second time in recent months that parliament’s Law and Government Service Committee has proposed legislation that is intended to limit press freedom.
MRI, which considers the proposed 1000 AZN State Fee to found print media groundless, also stated that amendments banning the creation of media bearing the name of Azerbaijan’s distinguished people (without permission from that person’s close relatives or inheritor), names of already existing mass media, or names the could confuse the population are unclear and create broad opportunities for abuse.
“These changes also related to Point 10 of Article 19 of the Law on Mass Media, which was removed in 2001,” it is written in the statement. “The new proposal, which creates unlimited opportunities to pressure the mass media, makes this point more severe and puts in place sanctions that cannot be considered proportional. The reincarnation of this norm, which violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights standards, combined with making it more severe puts the press in severe danger.”
On June 12, the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety also released a statement condemning the proposed changes to the Law on Mass Media. That statement can be viewed here: