February 12th, 2009
Today, 12 February, “Monitoring Elections and Teaching Democracy” center (METDC) conducted a press conference and revealed its mid-report in connection with monitoring on preparation for referendum to be held on 18 March 2009 which considers changes and amendments to the constitution of Azerbaijan Republic.

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety was told this by METDC Head Anar Mammadli.
According to Mammadli, it is noted in report that preparation plays an important role in the conduction of the referendum in a free and democratic environment. Therefore, METDC considers that all the issues raised for the referendum should be discussed, public enlightenment should be carried out and it should be insured that the referendum is conducted in a free and democratic environment.
It is also noted in the report that discontinuing foreign radio stations on national frequencies in Azerbaijan has restricted public’s access to information during pre-referendum, and crisis in the area of freedom of speech and press has deepened.
Central Election Commission identified rules that are not considered in the Election Code in the instructions on regulations to create propaganda groups and thus, restricted the participation of public groups in the referendum, it is noted in the report of METDC, according to A. Mammadli.
It is speciafically noted in the report that the registration of local monitors is delayed by CEC and some complaints that are sent to CEC in connection with pressure against members of the initiative groups on referendum are not properly investigated.