Venice Commission to discuss Azerbaijan’s media law

At a meeting of 17-18 June the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe will discuss the Azerbaijani law on media adopted at the end of the last year. This is noted in a statement published on the Venice Commission’s website.

A group of Venice Commission experts examined the compliance of Azerbaijan’s new law on media with the Council of Europe standards and prepared a conclusion on the issue.

“This conclusion will be discussed and adopted at a closed session of the commission. At that, the preparation of the expert conclusion was requested by the head of the PACE Monitoring Committee on February 2,” the statement said.

Note that the decisions adopted at the closed meeting will be publicized in the media on June 20.

Azerbaijani independent media rights experts believe that the new law does not comply with Azerbaijan’s international commitments and standards of media freedom.

Media rights expert Khalid Aghaliyev told Turan that the law does not promote freedom for the media, and instead limits it providing more opportunities for comfortable control of the press.

“This provisions of the law are not consistent with our Constitution, our plans for building a democratic country, nor our country’s commitments in the context of freedom of speech and the media. Therefore, the conclusion of the Venice Commission experts is expected to be critical,” he said.

On December 30 of the last year, Azerbaijan’s parliament passed a new media law. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed the new media law in February this year.

The law defines the organizational, legal and economic foundations for media activities, as well as the general rules for receiving, preparing, transmitting, producing and disseminating mass information.

The document covers issues arising from journalists’ activities, including the issuance of appropriate unified certificates to journalists, the creation of a media registry, prohibiting closed filming, etc.

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