April 19th, 2011
A two-day seminar dedicated to the Article 10 of the European Convention was kicked off today. The seminar covered Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms. It was arranged by the Media Rights Institute
with support from European Union and Council of Europe.

Media Rights Institute director Rashid Hajili made a keynote speech where he spoke about the freedom of expression problem in Azerbaijan. He covered the launch of multiple lawsuits against journalists and the prosecution of the journalists for defamation.

At the seminar, issues in the mass media sphere, including the limited advertising markets, and criminal prosecution under defamation charge were discussed.

The Press Council and the OSCE Baku Office are preparing a draft law on defamation which implies the annulment of punishment for insult and libel. The draft law will be submitted to  parliament.

The Council of Europe Baku Office Head Constantin Yerocostopoulos said that the current seminar is aimed at enhancing the skills of the participants on the implementation of European Convention Article

Council of Europe Media Department representative Leyla Dervisachich noted that the seminar is focused on increasing professionalism in Mass Media and development of pluralistic media in Azerbaijan.

In the first part of the seminar, Austrian lawyer Albrech Haller spoke about the European Court of Human Rights decisions passed with regard to Article 10.

Then parliamentarian Fazil Mustafayev spoke about the compliance of Azerbaijan’s freedom of expression legislation with the European standards.

Franch lawyer Frederic Gras spoke about the European Court of Human Rights decisions on defamation and criticism.

In the second part of the seminar, Media Rights Institute Director Rashid Hajili discussed Azerbaijan’s freedom of expression legislation and local court practices.