BAKU: "Zerkalo": "We Will Continue To Endeavor To Protect Freedom Of

M. Mamadov

Ïðaâî Âûaîða, Azerbaijan
Democratic Azerbaijan
Nov 7 2006

Participants of "round table" made such statement November 3,
"round table" dedicated to pressure now being actively made on
independent press was held on initiative of political parties’ bloc
"Azadlig". Human right defenders also joined the event.

Ali Kerimli, chairman of Popular Front Party, opened the event. He
declared that attacks against independent press in Azerbaijan always
took place. "However, today we faced the pressure of invincible force
and scale. Today it is of systematic nature, realized accordingly to
several directions. Intention of authorities to destroy independent
press is felt", party leader said.

In turn, director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, Leyla Yunus,
noted that activity of authorities is directed to eliminate freedom
of press from social life by 2008, when Presidential elections will
be held in Azerbaijan. With the purpose of protection of independent
press, she proposed to unite efforts of everyone – politicians,
mass media representatives, human right defenders.

Editor-in-chief of "Yeni Musavat", Rauf Arifoglu, is convinced that
authorities made a list of over 50 journalists who will be made
pressure on with the help of close relations working in different
organizations. "I worry about life of my colleagues that is why
I introduced internal censorship in newspaper – I dismissed some
journalists from making sharp publications", he underlined.

Present campaign of pressure on press R. Arifoglu connects with the
wish of authorities to remove resistance centers, to compromise in
connection with Garabagh issue and to give permission for creation of
the second Armenian state on Azerbaijani territories. "Achievement
of goal in defending of freedom of press is possible if opposition
unites. "If there is no unity of opposition, our activity to protect
democratic institutions of society will fail", he explained.

Pressure on "Azadlig" newspaper, ANS, "Turan" information agency,
advocate, Aslan Ismailov, evaluated as aggression against symbols of
independence of Azerbaijan.

"The time has come when citizens should express their position. As
for "authority-opposition" relation the balance is violated. It may
lead to destruction of society. A war not a fight is waged between
authority and opposition. If authorities start resistance, opposition
follows it", he underlined and called opposition press to be correct
with regard to representative of intellectuals. "If someone is not
near it does not mean that he is enemy. Society should have as many
independent persons as possible", A. Ismailov underlined.

Accordingly to deputy chairman of Popular Front Party, Fuad Mustafayev,
not only "Azadlig" is targeted by authorities. "Today fights proceeds
against people not thinking like authorities do. It is necessary to
protect independent press, freedom of activity, freedom of assembly. We
do not duly partake in this work. It is necessary to coordinate
actions at least within the frames of what we can do. Azerbaijani
society is craving for changes; it votes against authorities during
elections, it is ready to support democracy. The action proved it (the
matter concerns unapproved meeting at "Baki Soveti" subway station,
November 2)", but people cannot resist armed attacks of authorities,
– he answered.

Chairman of Citizens’ Party and development, Ali Aliyev, advocated
necessity of realization of actions. "Azerbaijani authorities are
weak, they have no force, they have only money. They hope for people,
however not trusting them. International structures should be also
informed that not everything is sold and bought in Azerbaijan. To
support press is the case of all conscientious citizens", he declared.

Deputy chairman of Democratic party of Azerbaijan, Sardar Jalaloglu,
called to resort to all ways to support freedom of press. Current
attack against press he takes as demonstration of weakness of
authorities. At the same time he blamed journalists for being not
active in defending their freedom. Leader of Movement of National
Unity, Lala Shavket, declared that free press is the fundament of
democracy. "Authorities are striving for improvement of democracy in
the country and to establish dictatorship. We should fight with all
our might to prevent it. Only weak authority sets hopes upon force",
she underlined. L. Shovket called opposition not to pay attention to
authorities only, but also to itself. "Sometimes we fight with one
another more cruelly that with authorities", she underlined.

While making conclusions, A. Kerimli declared about intention of
"Azadlig" bloc to continue fight to protect freedom of press. "We
will go out for meeting if necessary", he said.


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