July 27th, 2009
The financial assistance allocated to information agencies and several dailies on 22 July, National Press Day, by the State Assistance Fund for Mass Media stirred dissatisfaction among daily and weekly newspapers.

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety was told by Avaz Zeynalli that the State Assistance Fund for Mass Media should allocate funds for influential weekly newspapers along dailies. There are weekly newspapers that have larger circulation and better prestige than those newspapers that received assistance.

“Tazadlar” Newspaper Editor-in-chief Asif Merzili told IRFS that last year his newspaper did not receive any assistance. “Last year they said that the assistance is for daily newspapers. Although our newspaper has been published daily for more than a year now, we had to face discrimination this time as well.”

According to “Mukhalifat” newspaper editor-in-chief Rovshan Kabirli, using their authorities, several people represented in the State Assistance Fund for Mass Media directed the funds to their own press organs. “This is biased position not only towards weekly newspapers but also towards Azerbaijan’s press in general.

“Reyting” Newspaper Editor-in-chief Afig Mirzabeyli told IRFS that the circulation of 90% of the newspapers that received funds is less than of “Reyting’s”. “Allocating aid to newspapers that have lower circulations and less influence than ours is discrimination.”

State Assistance Fund for Mass Media Head Vugar Safarlli told IRFS that the fund was distributed according to resources. “With the amount of the resources given to us it was impossible to assist all the newspapers,” said Safarli. “And assistance to weekly newspapers was not considered in the plan.” Then Safarli emphasized that the weekly newspapers will be considered in the next year’s plan to be submitted to the Ministry of Finance.

On 22 July, National Press Day, State Assistance Fund for Mass Media allocated 10 000 AZN for 8 information agencies and 31 daily newspapers each.