Azerbaijan: Increased censorship in the new law of media

Thursday, 23 December 2021 - 08:54
https://english.iswnews.com/?p=21977

The new law prohibits religious and ethnic parties and groups in Azerbaijan from publishing the press, launch TV and radio networks, websites and any activities in social media. Also, the Humanistic and free speech ideologies are allowed but religious activities are banned according to this law!

The head of Human Rights committee of Azerbaijan parliament said: Bill of “media law” in 9 chapters and 78 articles in presence of near 50 media owners was drafted in different commissions. Zahed Oruj claims that the new bill by the government helps with development of media in Azerbaijan Republic.

According to state-run TV, Khazar TV, according to the bill the social media activists with Azerbaijan nationalities are treated like reporters but foreign reporters are exempted from the law.

There are six thousand social media activists with large number of followers in Azerbaijan.

The articles of the new law shows that the government helps the large audience media financially. Also Humanistic ideologies and free speech are allowed but religious activities are banned. Promoting racial, religious, gender and tribal discrimination is crime.

The new law prohibits religious and ethnic parties and groups in Azerbaijan from publishing the press, launch TV and radio networks, websites and any activities in social media.

The bill allows foreign individuals and companies to support up to 25% of published contents.

The monitoring council is allowed to suspend the activities of violators for 24 hours until the accusations are judged.

According to ISWNEWS analysis, Azerbaijan government is limiting the free speech of parties, groups and individuals who have critiques. Also political, religious parties and ethnic groups could relay their messages on social media after their formal media were closed.

Most of the media are controlled by the government and its allies, and in some cases, they are controlled by fake identities.

The authorities use a range of measures to restrict freedom of the media within the country. Opposition and independent media outlets and journalists have their access to print-houses and distribution networks limited, or can find themselves facing defamation charges and crippling fines and are subject to intimidation tactics, including imprisonment on fabricated charges.

Most Azerbaijanis receive their information from mainstream television, which is unswervingly pro-government and under strict government control. According to a 2012 report of the NGO “Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)” Azerbaijani citizens are unable to access objective and reliable news on human rights issues relevant to Azerbaijan and the population is under-informed about matters of public interest.

The government is clueless how to deal with six thousand informal social media activists and see them a big source of uncensored contents. Helping financially the favored media and banning the opposite media is the way the Azerbaijan government is trying right now.

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