U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION NOTES PERSECUTION OF AZERBAIJANI JOURNALIST IN WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY STATEMENT

May 3rd, 2008
The United State Helsinki Commission, also known at the Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe, expressed concern about the persecution and imprisoned of journalists in Azerbaijan in a statement released in honor of World Press Freedom Day.

In statement, which is attributed to Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, it is stated, “As we commemorate World Press Freedom Day, we recognize the critical role freedom speech and freedom of the media play in safeguarding democracy and we are reminded of the grave challenges many journalists face while reporting, such as acts of intimidation, abduction, beatings, threats or even murder.”  

The statement then continues, saying, “We laud Mr. Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media for his detailed, thoughtful and constructive work in this field and his commitment to protecting the right of all individuals to express themselves freely. As Miklos Haraszti has observed, the ongoing media crackdown in Azerbaijan is a source of particular concern. The recent knifing of Azadlig correspondent Agil Khalil is just the latest in a series of attacks against journalists. This attack ought to be investigated and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. Despite the December amnesty that released five journalists, other journalists remain imprisoned for their work. I urge the leaders of Azerbaijan to repeal their criminal defamation and insult laws and release their jailed journalists.”  
The complete text of this statement can be viewed at: http://csce.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContentRecords.ViewDetail&ContentRecord_id=664&ContentRecordType=P&ContentType=P&CFID=8009524&CFTOKEN=59848545 .