REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS CONCERNED ABOUT GOVERNMENT’S CONTROL OVER INTERNET IN AZERBAIJAN

May 7th, 2010
Reporters Without Borders issued a statement  to express its concern regarding the attempts of Azerbaijani government to control internet in the country.

The organization stressed that on 16 April, communications minister Ali Abbasov said Internet regulation, and in particular, a system for licensing Internet TV was needed. It was also stressed that Nushiravan Magerramli, head of the National TV and Radio Broadcasting Council, made similar comments on 22 April.

“The authorities keep on making dramatic statements about their desire to protect the country’s morals, but in practice what they want is to maintain their monopoly of news and information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They already control TV and the majority of print media, and now they are staging a shameless offensive against the Internet.”

Reporters Without Borders noted that the imprisonment of two bloggers, Adnan Hadjizade and Emin Milli, for criticizing the regime and denouncing corruption in a satirical video posted online, is the indicator of real danger to internet users in Azerbaijan.

It is emphasized in the statement that journalists and human rights lawyers who took part in a round table on 3 May for World Press Freedom Day, voiced concern about the consequences of Internet regulation and stated that internet access is already very limited in Azerbaijan by the cost of a connection, which is 10 times higher than in Turkey.

On 3 May, the International Press Freedom Day, in the press centre of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), IRFS and the Media Rights Institute held a roundtable on the theme “Is there need for State Regulation on the Internet in the 21st Century?”