Miklosh Harashti: End must be put to journalists’ harassment


The young bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada will not be deprived of freedom, Miklosh Harashti, OSCE special representative for media freedom, has come to such a conclusion after the meeting with Ali Hasanov, chief of the public-political department of the presidential administration.

Harashti called Azerbaijani authorities’ intention to cancel criminal responsibility for libel “good news.” The journalists must not be prosecuted on the basis of framed-up charges. The meeting with Hasanov has instilled Harashti with this hope.

Harashti said the convicted journalists should be pardoned by president. Asked if such a pardon is expected in the near future, Harashti said: “This issue is under discussion. We keep on insisting of release of the sentenced journalists,” Harashti said.

Harashti said that broadcast of Voice of America, Radio Liberty and BBC radio stations on local waves must be resumed. “Pluralism in media is impossible without that,” he said.

Asked about his attitude towards the Azerbaijani officials’ appeals to establish control over internet, Harashti said: “Control over internet can lead to negative consequences, because internet in Azerbaijan is the last source of pluralist information,” he said.

Harashti said it is impossible to impose restrictions on internet. “It is possible to limit access to one blog, but the same information can be found through another blogs,” Harashti said.

During his current visit Harashti has also met with Mahmud Mammadguliyev, Deputy Foreign Minister, Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova and representatives of media and journalism organizations.

He has visited journalists Eynulla Fatullayev and Ganimat Zahidov in jail. But he was not allowed to meet with the bloggers, because it is prohibited by the law.

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