September 10th, 2008
Tomorrow, September 12, at 11 a.m. the “Election 2008” NGO Coalition will conduct a seminar on the theme “Public Oversight Mechanisms in Free and Fair Elections: abilities, opportunities and problems” in the International Press Cente, according to an invitation received by the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Interestingly, however, since July 17 the International Press Center has been closed for repairs, and has turned away many paying customers seeking to conduct events. Some people believe the repair work was intentionally planned to coincide with the elections, in attempt to limit opportunities for public discourse on pressing issues and large gatherings.

IRFS attempted to contact the International Press Center, to inquire about the event scheduled for tomorrow, however no one answered the phone. But when IRFS called the International Press Center’s fax number (as indicated on the center’s website –, a person did answer. That person stated he was a security guard and said he had no information.

IRFS put all of the telephones numbers shown on the International Press Center’s website into an online database of telephone numbers maintained by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies. Interestingly, while all of the other numbers listed on the site are registered to the International Press Center, the fax line, that is the one that someone actually answered, is registered to “Kaspi” Newspaper. “Kaspi” Newspaper is known to frequently publish articles with a pro-government slant.
IRFS was also unable to get in touch with representatives of the “Election 2008” NGO Coalition to clarify this matter.