December 24th, 2010
Media Rights Institute (MRI) released its annual report on media situation.  The report includes the statistics and analysis of the legal situation of media in Azerbaijan in 2010, Turan news agency reports.

MRIS was supported by Norwegian Foreign Ministry in implementation of researches and preparation of reports.

The report includes 6 sections. The document says that 6 of 7 imprisoned journalists in 2010 has been set free; however, journalist Eynulla Fatullayev has not been released despite a European Court of Human Rights judgment demanding his immediate release and payment of compensation to him. According to the document, Yeni Musavat employee Elmin Badalov has faced 9 facts of pressure.

The report goes on to say that 71 lawsuits were filed against journalists in 2010; 40 of them were civil, and 31 were criminal lawsuits. It says that journalists were usually sued by top ranking officials when they revealed negative affairs in public agencies.

The document notes that journalists were subjected to physical and psychological harassments and threats approximately 106 times. The harassments usually targeted the critical news reporters. The journalists were harassed by both ordinary citizens and police and state employees.

The document also brings up governmental control of TV and radio broadcasting. It says that National TV and Radio Council punished ANS TV for a tiny broadcasting mistake, but turned a blind eye to the broadcasting of an explicit sex video on Lider TV, which is not only violation of broadcasting ethics, but also an  interference in private life of a person.

The report also speaks about the lack of remarkable measures for improvement of media legislation. It goes on to say that 2009 and 2010 are marked for considerable increase of Azerbaijani citizens’ participation and discussions in social networks.