March 6th, 2008
Today in the OSCE’s Baku Office, “Defamation in the OSCE Space: Learning Legislation and Experience” training was conducted for judges from Baku’s Appellate Court.

The judges learned about European practices in the area of defamation.  
According to “Radio Liberty,” OSCE Baku Office head Jose Louis Herrero expressed that the OSCE is very concerned about the current situation in Azerbaijan in connection with defamation. The organization recommends that when the courts of first instance and appellate courts review such cases they should take into consideration precedents set by the European Court of Human Rights.  
“Trend” News Agency reports that Supreme Court Judge Vafeddin Ibayev said, “In connection with the ability to abuse the statutes of the Criminal Code, it is important to look at defamation cases only in the civil form. If journalists can be imprisoned for defamation, it seems to imply that the mass media shouldn’t report on things that are important to society.”
Research done by the OSCE shows that while the vast majority of European countries have legislation that encompasses criminal responsibility for defamation this legislation is not applied.