On 14 March an unidentified person called “Yeni Musavat” newspaper’s editorial office and made threatening remarks about the newspaper’s journalist Sabuhi Mammadli.

Mammadli told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, “My coworker answered the phone that day. The person introduced himself as an employee of Unit #7 of Binegedi District Police Department and asked about me. When my coworker told him that I wasn’t in the editorial office, the person hung up on him saying he will harm me and make me disabled.” Mammadli has not yet appealed to any law enforcement agencies about this incident, adding that he wrote two articles about Nakhichevan and Transportation Minister Ziya Mammadov around that time.

Yesterday (18 March) “Hurriyyet” Newspaper Ganjabasar regional correspondent Ikram Rafigoglu was threatened by police. The journalist told this to IRFS. According to him, he received a call to his mobile and was called to Ganja City Police Department. In the department the deputy police chief Ilgar Balakishiyev threatened the journalist. Balakishiyev allegedly said, “Articles about arbitrariness in Ganja must end. You are under our surveillance all the time.”

Rafigoglu told IRFS, “If there’s something in my articles it is possible to solve these through court. I said this when talking to them. But the deputy police chief told me that these articles harm the city’s image. They want to stop these articles with the help of police. I am getting ready to file a lawsuit against Ilgar Balakishiyev because of his interference in my work.”

In today’s edition of “Hurriyyet” newspaper Interior Ministry Press Service representative Ehsan Zahidov expressed his opinion about this issue. Zahidov said, “I don’t have information about the incident, but they might have told him not to write malicious articles. I don’t believe a deputy police chief police would threaten a journalist.”

IRFS contacted also Ganja City Police Department Deputy Chief Ilgar Balakishiyev about this incident. He said, “You need to contact Interior Ministry Press Service representative Ehsan Zahidov. He knows everything about the incident.”

We contacted Ehsan Zahidov to specify the matter. Zahidov said, “I learned about this incident, and in fact, not everything is as Ikram stated. Some information about the correspondent came in to the Ganja City Police Department.  It is stated in the information that the journalist blackmailed and threatened associations, offices and production enterprises with writing articles about them with the intention to get money from them. To clarify this matter the deputy police chief invited the journalist to the police department and Rafigoglu accepted this as a threat. And I would characterize the commentary of the incident in this way, as advertising.”

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