The Media Rights Institute (MRI) disseminated a statement objecting to changes and amendments proposed for media legislation. The statement expresses concern about information provided by MP Penah Huseyn regarding the proposal on changes and amendments to the laws “On Mass Media,” “On Freedom of Information,” “On operation-investigation activities,” “On intelligence and anti-intelligence activity,” and “On Obtaining information.”
The proposed addition to the article 60 of the Law “On Mass Media” is: “Except operational-investigation cases, following someone, and subjecting them to video, photo or voice recording by media representatives and other persons without them knowing it or with them objecting to it is punishable as defined by law.”
MRI believes that adopting this change will severely damage journalists’ right to obtain and disseminate information. “The work of journalists can not be restricted to disseminating information that state organs and officials, and different people provide voluntarily,” the statement reads. “The journalist’s right to obtain information can not be restricted to observing (through their eyes) either. Investigative journalists should have the right to follow people, to listen to and record any information using any means of technology. The duty of journalists in a democratic society should not be undermined and considered less effective than separate governmental officials.”
MRI states that similar changes are contrary to article 10 of the Human Rights Convention of Europe and articles 47 and 50 of the Azerbaijani Constitution. MRI calls on the parliament to create conditions for the public to discuss this draft law and annul these items that are damaging to freedom of expression from the proposals.