“Medal” for Azerbaijan for being leading jailer of journalists
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President
As the host of the first European Games, Azerbaijan has certainly won the “medal”, even before the opening of the game, for its reputation as one of the leading jailers of journalists and its hostile treatments towards journalists and media. While local journalists are being put behind bars for their critical voices, many foreign journalists are barred from entering the country to report about the Games.
The press freedom situation is at its worst on record when Azerbaijan ordered to shut down the office of the OSCE in Baku before the Games. Even NGOs like the Amnesty International is barred from entering the capital. No seems to be able to speak out for the human rights sitution from within.
The behaviors of the government are unacceptable. Their denial of human rights violations and media censorship was echoed in the conference held by the OSCE in Vienna on 16 – 17 June on “Journalists’ safety, media freedom and pluralism in times of conflict”. Both the intergovernmental institutions and NGOs in the meeting called for concrete actions to address the issue.
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