ArmInfo. The organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the European leaders to build relations with Azerbaijan, taking into account the respect and freedom of the press.
According to the Baku agency Turan, the RSF statement says in part: "President Aliyev continues his advancement in Europe, although the level of violations of press freedom in his country has never been so high. The time has come for the leaders of Europe to determine the development of their relations with Azerbaijan, taking into account Baku's compliance with its international obligations with respect to fundamental rights." The immediate release of journalists who are illegally detained and the cessation of the prosecution of independent media should be on the list of these conditions," the document says.
It is noted that in Azerbaijan, meanwhile, the last independent journalists continue to be suppressed, in a country that ranks 163rd out of 180 countries in the RSF press freedom index.
The latest victims of the authorities were Afgan Sadygov, editor of the news site Azel.tv in the southeastern city of Jalilabad. He was released in May, after 18 months in prison on a fabricated charge, he was very active in social networks and announced that he was going to resume his reportage, but was arrested on July 6. After searching for him for five days, his family and his lawyers finally found that he was sentenced to 30 days of arrest for hooliganism and "resistance to the police.
Another offensive against the latest sources of criticism was caused by the tragic events in the western city of Ganja, where the attempted assassination of the mayor on July 3 led to unrest, as a result of which on July 10 two policemen were killed. Four news sites were immediately blocked by order of the General Prosecutor's Office without reference to the courts.
The authorities have already blocked access to the leading independent news sites since March 2017. They also strangled all the most popular media financially or shut them down by force, and criminalized the activities of NGOs that support the media. At least eleven journalists and two bloggers are currently detained in connection with their reporting. Not content with the elimination of all pluralism in the media at home, Aliyev no longer hesitates to pursue his media critics after they fled abroad, noted in the document.