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 Report - Weekly Bulletin (RUH)

 Report date: 12.12.2003

Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists RUH

WEEKLY BULLETIN OF THE AZERBAIJAN COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS RUH

#34 01.12.2003 07.12.2003

SECRETARY GENERAL OF "REPORTERS SAN FRONTIERES" IN BAKU

DRAFT SUBMITTED TO PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATION

NEW CONTEST FOR JOURNALISTS

A SUIT BROUGHT AGAINST POLICE GENERAL

INQUEST AT PROSECUTOR OFFICE

WHETHER THE LETTER TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS WILL HELP?

CONSIDERATION OF CLAIM POSTPONED

IN A LINE

NOVEMBER REPORT OF ACPJ "RUH"

SECRETARY GENERAL OF "REPORTERS SAN FRONTIERES" VISITED BAKU

On the first day of winter, Rober Mennar Secretary General of the international organization Reporters San Frintieres, visited Azerbaijan. The 3-day visit of him and contributor of this Organization Caroline Jerro is connected with the numerous facts of violation of the rights of journalists in the 15-16 October events. The first meeting of the guests was held with the lawyer of Rauf Arifoglu, editor-in-chief of the Yeni Musavat newspaper, who is under examination, and his brother. By the way, later, Mr. Mennar was given opportunity to meet the editor-in-chief. He interested in the health of Arifoglu, familiarized with the essence of the motives of accusation, as well as with the conditions of his custody in the cell. Rober Mennar also had conversation with the acting leaders of the opposition newspapers Azadlig, Yeni Musavat, Baku-Khaber, Yeni Zaman, Hurriyyet. These editions experienced shortage of newsprint. The editors brought to the notice of the International Organization that their newspapers were not issued for a week just due to the artificial non-supply of newsprint. There is newsprint in the country, but in the warehouses of state publishing house and the CBS printing house. But there, the newsprint is sold at 50 percent higher than the usual market prices, they said. The editions are threatened by reapplication of the eliminated Value Added Cost and customs tariffs for newsprint. Then, Secretary General of the International Organization met the members of the Press Council of Azerbaijan. Discussed were perspectives of development of journalism after the events connected with presidential elections. Representatives of numerous parties and movements conditionally named pro-governmental and opposition, as well as Members of Parliament from the ruling Party differently commented both the facts of pressures on the journalists and motives of detention and keeping under custody representatives of the printing media. In the course of debates, the parties came to an opinion that indeed, there took place numerous cases of violation of the rights of journalists, covering the 16 October clashes between law enforcers and opposition. On the conclusions of his visit, Mr. Rennar held a news conference on 2 December. He updated the journalists on results of the meetings, including with the head of the socio-political department of president Administration Ali Hasanov, Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov and Minister of Internal Affairs Ramil Usubov. He stated that in any situation he backs the journalists and also has wished that further the journalists had special equipment in emergencies. Representatives of media should not be subject to arrests, and there are other more intensive methods of investigating their activity, which is not connected with their profession.

DRAFT SUBMITTED TO PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATION

The working group completed its work on new Draft On freedom of information, MP, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on legislation in the field of mass media Rizvan Jabiyev told the Olaylar News Agency, on 2 December. At his words, the Draft was sent tot eh judicial department of President Administration. The Document was also sent to the international organizations, including the Council of Europe.

NEW CONTEST FOR JOURNALISTS

The jury of the contest, organized by the State Committee on work with Azerbaijanis living abroad, has published preliminary results of its activity. Over 20 competitors presented their works for consideration and evaluation. The Diaspora has in the last times representations almost on all continents, and its activity is different, members of the jury stated. Therefore and the journalistic materials have diverse thematic. The results of contest will be announced on 20 December.

A SUIT BROUGHT AGAINST POLICE GENERAL

On 4 December, the Committee to Protect Journalists "RUH", with power invested in it, has brought a suit against the deputy chief of police of Baku, major general of police Yashar Aliyev. The readers, probably, remember from the previous issues of our Weekly, dated 8 September, in front of the chief police department of Baku, were beaten some of our colleagues. Five of them: Azer Rashidolgu, and Matin Yasharoglu from the newspaper "Zerkalo", Khalig Bahadir from Azadlig, Khagani Safaroglu from "vropa" and Rey Karimoglu from "Milli Yol", have insisted that they were beaten personally by the deputy chief of the police department, while the rest refused to give explanation. The Committee RUH addressed the Prosecutor General, the latter to the City Prosecutor and the third, in its turn, to City police department, who is directly guilty. There was launched an investigation and it appeared that the journalists violated some rules connected with the public order. Then, "RUH" decided to address the Nesimi district court for justice. The experts understand that in similar cases, the judicial instances, usually for corporative interests or just in any case back the police officers. Nevertheless, it is considered the society needs to bring a suit against the medium and high rank officials.

INQUEST AT PROSECUTOR OFFICE

On 4 December, first deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yeni Musavat Gabil Abbasoglu was called to the Prosecutor General Office. At the investigation department on grave crimes he was asked related to his participation at the 16 October clashes. Investigator Eyvaz Yusifov interested in content of the phone talk of Gabil Abbasogly with one of the accused. Relevant legislation directly points at inadmissibility of hearing private talks. In addition, the Law On mass media stresses cases when the source should be disclosed, and also in the case of judicial investigation. It is prevention of especially dangerous crimes, protection of human life and protection of interests of the accused. The 16 October events cannot be referred to any of these cases. Besides Gabil Abbasoglu, on this very day to the Prosecutor general was called the editor of the newspaper Mukhalifet, Gambar Yusif.

WHETHER THE LETTER TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS WILL HELP?

On 4 December, special representative of OSCE in the field of freedom of speech Freimutt Duve sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan, whereby it condemned the fact of arrest and keeping under custody at the special cell of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yeni Musavat, Rauf Arifolgu. He expressed particular concern on his affected health and conditions of maintenance. Besides, the editor-in chief, using his civil rights took part at the hunger strike of protest that also at all does not promote him to recover. "...The journalist should never undergone arrest for professional duties... Possible way of solution of the problem might be temporary release of Arifoglu down to completion of the investigations concerning the degree of his participation in the said events", summed up the diplomat.

CONSIDERATION OF CLAIM POSTPONED

On 5 December, again was postponed consideration of the claim of the ANS Company against the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" and one of its constant authors, professor Kamil Veli Narimanoglu. It is not such first decision, made by the Sabael district court of Baku. Current year, in 11 courts in regard with the aforementioned newspaper, preliminary sittings were postponed up to later times and then, were pronounced judgment against the edition.

IN A LINE

On 5 December, at the Baku Press Club was held an incorporated session of NGOs uniting in the coalition United Network. They want to adjust communications of the non-governmental organizations and mass media.

On 5 December, at the Press Club Nizami, was held discussions related to the coming campaign Mass media against smoking.

NOVEMBER REPORT OF ACPJ "RUH"

Report of the Committee to Protect Journalists for November 2003 was summed up. In the period under review, was registered about 10 violations in the field of mass media. Boyukaga Agayev, correspondent of the newspaper "Azadlig", having accreditation, was not illegally admitted to the session of Parliament. Aydin Guliyev, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Baki-Khaber", was subjected to psychological pressure by collaborators of the Prosecutor General.

The Sabael district court of Baku pronounced 4 judgments connected with writ against the newspaper Yeni Musavat. Totally, the court fined the edition 52 million manta (approximately, 11 thousand USD). Cumulative fine in result of consideration of the judicial claims against the printing med current month amounted 165 million manat.

Several newspapers: Yeni Musavat, Azadlig, Yeni Zaman, Baki-Khaber and Hurriyyet were not issued for almost a week due to shortage of newsprint.


Reference to the Bulletin of RUH is necessary.
Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists RUH

__________________________________________________________________________

Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists RUH
Azerbaijan Republic,

Baku, Nizami str., 121/11

Tel/fax: (99412) 982748

E-mail: ruh@internews.az



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