WORK OF JOURNALISTS IN NAKHCHIVAN RESTRICTED DUE TO PRESIDENT’S VISIT

June 4th, 2008

From the moment President Ilham Aliyev started his visit to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the work of journalists in the region have been restricted maximally.

Aliyev arrived on in Nakhchivan on 3 June. Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety regional correspondent Hekim Eldostu Mehidyev said that the participation of local correspondents is hindered at events where the president is present. Even regional press organs associated with the government are not being permitted to make reports; they are obliged to broadcast reporting through AZTV news only.  
Representatives of the independent press in the region have been under surveillance since the president’s arrival. Mehdiyev, who lives in Sharur region and also works for “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper, has been prevented from traveling to Nakhchivan city for two days. He reported that he faces psychological pressure, and his work is being hindered. Technical means which are used by the journalists are being impeded. Mehdiyev said there is interference in his phone calls and problems with the internet.
“Radio Liberty” and “Turan” Information Agency regional correspondent Malahat Nasibova told IRFS a similar story. As of yesterday (3 June) there is interference in calls being made from her offices and home, and also on her mobile phones. She has had great difficulty contacting the press organs she is working with, and calls don’t reach her. 
“The speed of the internet at home and in the office has been significantly lowered, and it takes hours before we are able to send information to necessary recipients,” stated Nasibova.
In general people are not allowed to come to the center of the regions and the city so that the president doesn’t get complaints from them, according to Mehdiyev. All public busses coming to Nakhchivan city from the regions of autonomous republic have stopped working, and the movement of civilian cars has been banned in Nakhchivan city.