Azerbaijan: Charges against Journalist, News Agency Silence Independent Media
In response to a court in Baku sentencing one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent independent journalists, Mehman Aliyev, to three months pre-trial detention before being tried for alleged “abuse of power” and on other charges, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The charges against Mehman Aliyev and now his pre-trial detention are part of Azerbaijan’s effort to silence independent journalism and all critical voices,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “Mehman Aliyev directs the Turan news agency, the country’s last remaining independent news agency, which has announced it has no choice but to close as of September 1. The government targeted the news agency by filling unfounded charges of financial irregularities, which has led to a freeze on the agency’s bank accounts. The government’s actions against Turan and its leading journalist are grave attacks against press freedom.”
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.93 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2017.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.