March 14th, 2008
Today the Media Rights Institute presented its “Media Legislation: Reorganization

Ideas” book to journalists and the public in the International Press Center.

Several laws are assessed in the book and suggestions are made.  Specifically,

suggestions are made about preparing a draft law on regulating the laws on freedom

of expression, the protection of journalists’ sources, and TV and Radio Frequencies.

In his opening speech, Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili gave

explanations about the issues reflected in the book. He said, “The protection of the

journalist sources is one of the important issues today.  There are critical

problems in this area. Without the protection of sources, journalists can’t function

effectively. Police who don’t have a network of agencies won’t be able to fight

criminals. And we cannot talk about real freedom of speech without having secret

information sources. The existence of secret information sources plays a vital role

in every editorial office, for every journalist. Journalists wouldn’t be able to

obtain serious facts without this.”  
Hajili talked about the stabbing of Agil Khalil, and said that 100 journalists

received injuries during presidential elections in 2003. He emphasized that only one

of these cases, the case of Sahil Karimli, was investigated.   
Hajili recalled all the pressured journalists, and added that the people responsible

for this have gone unpunished. He added that the journalists have a great need for

unity. He recommended working hard and carrying out discussions in the areas of

adopting this law, to find ways to attract international organizations to this

ABA-CEELI representative Katherine Larsen, who participated in the conference, said,

“From the point of view of American society, the protection of information sources

for journalists plays an important role in securing society. Court trials show that

journalists’ lives and sources should be fully protected. If confidentiality is not

ensured, these sources will be forced into silence. This draft law is one of the

very important means for protecting information sources and helping the press to

serve public interests.”  
The Head of “Turan” News Agency Mehman Aliyev stated, “An outlet to information

sources is problematic enough in Azerbaijan. The adoption of these kinds of laws is

a requirement in our times. This should have happened long ago. We obtain

information in a roundabout way in Azerbaijan. The information that is supposed to

be given to us usually isn’t.”
Then R. Hajili said that the draft laws will be submitted to the Milli Mejlis in a

couple of days.