OSCE Representative on freedom of the Media expressed concern about the situation in Azerbaijan
The OSCE Representative on freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, announced on January 15 she was concerned over the excessive use of force against journalists by riot police during a recent public protest in Baku. Official web-site of the OSCE informs about this.
Several reporters were harassed and prevented from doing their job during a demonstration on 12 January against the deaths of young Azerbaijani army conscripts.
“I condemn all violence against media workers as serious obstacles to pluralism and media freedom. I ask the Azerbaijani authorities to investigate this incident and take measures to prevent similar incidents in the future,” said Mijatović.
Among the affected journalists were Objectiv TV correspondent Radim Aliyev, RFE/RL reporter Vusala Alibayli, Azadliq newspaper correspondent Islam Shikhali, as well as a journalist from deyerler.org news portal. Emin Huseynov, Chair of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), who was also at the demonstration, was pushed to the ground by a policeman.
“I am particularly concerned that the journalists were mistreated even though they were wearing reflective vests, clearly identifying them as journalists,” said Mijatović in letter sent today to Azerbaijani foreign and interior ministers.
“This incident also shows that we need to continue our joint activities, such as the training course my office organized for police officers and journalists in Baku last November to promote standards in the safety of reporters,” she added. This was the first such training course financed by the Government of Azerbaijan and held jointly with the Press Council of Azerbaijan.