April 25th, 2008
Today (April 25) a seminar on “Elections in the Mass Media” was conducted in connection with preparation for and conduction of the presidential election.

The seminar was organized by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the OSCE’s Baku office.  

Opening the seminar, CEC Chairman Mezahir Penahov said that the mass media is one of the most active parts of Azerbaijani society. From this perspective, it plays a special role in elections.  
“2008 will be a very significant year for us. We will try to conduct all events together with mass media representatives,” said Penahov. “I hope that all the way until the election all press representatives will be with us.”
OSCE Baku Office head Jose Luis Herraro said that at present the preparation stage of the elections is beginning and this is a very important time for Azerbaijan.
“It is in Azerbaijan’s interest to conduct an election in accordance with international standards,” said Herraro. “The conduction of a free election is a very important issue both in Azerbaijan and abroad. Both the population and the press must understand this. One of the major roles in elections is the role of the press. In politics there some approaches that media’s role is more important. We must be different in that we cooperate with the press. Only 8 percent of the population reads the newspaper, but 90 percent watches TV and listens to the radio. Therefore the TV’s role is very big. The OSCE Baku office and other international organizations are ready to provide assistance. When a mass media representative is preparing a report, he must learn the other side’s position. They must put forth not just their own opinion, but the opinion of the public.”