June 26th, 2009
The State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media Outlets has announced a competition among newspapers. Executive Director of the Fund Vugar Safarli said this during a press conference held yesterday, 25 June. According to V. Safarli, 1 million 300 thousand AZN have been allocated to the Fund from the state budget. 200,000 AZN will be spent for Fund’s expenses and 1.1 million AZN will be allocated for competition projects in 11 areas for newspapers. A maximum 20,000 AZN is allocated for every project, according to Safarli.

 “Only newspapers can participate in the competition,” said Safarli. “Newspapers founded by the state cannot join the competition. To appeal, the newspaper must be published at least once a week, should operate regularly within a year and their circulation should not be less than 1000. In addition, newspapers violating professional ethics adopted during the first congress of journalists and penalized by the Press Council cannot take part in the project.”

“Turan” Information Agency Director Mehman Aliyev told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that the creation of the State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media is vital. “The government is responsible for today’s grave situation of the press,” said M. Aliyev. “Therefore it is the duty of the government to take steps to improve the press. However, it does not look persuasive yet that this conception will save the press.”
To study the situation better, it would be reasonable to carry out analysis in connection with the press in three directions – legal, economic and professional and then allocate assistance.

“Ayna” and “Zerkalo” newspapers’ editor-in-chief Elchin Shikli told IRFS that he is not familiar with State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media and therefore does not know what they want to do. “Therefore, I don’t have any idea about this initiative or its future prospects.”
On 31 July 2008 the concept for the State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media was approved. On 3 April 2009 the State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media was created on the basis of a decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev. And on 22 May 2009 the executive director of the fund and a monitoring council of nine people were appointed by the president.