TWO JOURNALISTS JOIN E. FATULLAYEV’S HUNGER-STRIKE

March 27th, 2008
“Gundalik Azerbayjan” Newspaper employee Shahvaled Chobanoglu started a hunger-strike today.

Chobanoglu told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that he did this in a show of solidarity with imprisoned “Gundalik Azerbayjan” and “Realny Azerbayjan” newspapers’ Chief Editor Eynulla Fatullayev, who went on hunger-strike yesterday. According to Chobanoglu, he is conducting his hunger-strike in the editorial office of “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper and there are plans to set aside an entire room for hunger-strikers as other journalists intend to join the strike.  
“In addition to hunger-striking, journalists must work, therefore a decision has been adopted to conduct the hunger-strike on a rotation basis,” said Chobanoglu. “I believe that the journalists will continue the strike as long as their health allows. The main goal is to bring the demands of Eynulla Fatullayev to the attention of the local and international community and to achieve the fulfillment of these demands.”
IRFS also spoke to “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper Chief Editor Rauf Arifoglu about the hunger-strike.  
Arifoglu said, “I support the journalists who have started to hunger-strike and those who intend to join the hunger-strike. I believe it is right for them to take this radical step. The press freedom situation is very bad in Azerbaijan, and no matter what radical decisions we make and radical steps we take, we have been unable to ensure press freedom in Azerbaijan.”
Responding to a question about if Arifoglu himself will participate in the strike, the chief editor said he is currently receiving medical treatement because he has high blood pressure, but if this weren’t the case he would have liked to participate.  
Later today, Chobanoglu reported to IRFS that a room has in fact been allocated for the hunger-strike, and “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper editor Zahid Safaroglu also started hunger-striking today.