In a statement to APA, Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani president's assistant for public and political issues, has commented on the remarks made by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir during an interview with Radio “Voice of America” about the situation of the freedoms of speech and information.
Hasanov stressed that official representatives of a reliable organization like the OSCE tend to repeat tendentious and subjective claims about the freedoms of speech and information made by some foreign circles and NGOs and media outlets under their control.
"The freedoms of speech and information have been provided in Azerbaijan, a legislative framework has been set up in line with international standards regulating this field, hundreds of media outlets are functioning freely, and 82 percent of the population has access to the Internet. It is not right to express concern over the state of media freedom in Azerbaijan, to make allegations of media outlets being inhibited, journalists tortured, human rights activists arrested, and their being a state of impunity. In general, it is not right to distort the essence of an act of crime in a country and portray it as a restriction of the freedoms of speech and information. Azerbaijan is a legitimate, democratic country where rule of law is protected. Any person—irrespective of their social status and position—must be held accountable for any illegal activity they engage in under the guise of media representative, violating the law, journalistic ethics and norms,” he said.
According to Hasanov, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stressed the importance of journalistic responsibility during numerous meetings with journalists and urged media representatives to be objective and not to allow themselves to be manipulated in the hands of othersÅŸ
"This is a principal issue for the Azerbaijani state and society. In Europe’s developed countries, journalists get arrested, their activities get restricted, people’s right to freedom of expression gets prevented in the most drastic ways, but unfortunately, such incidents do not attract the attention of the OSCE and other international journalistic organizations. Mr. Harlem Désir and some circles that are in solidarity with him should be more balanced and objective in their positions and not take a tendentious approach towards Azerbaijan. The State of Azerbaijan takes consistent steps to further develop the freedoms of speech and information, as well as to ensure journalistic security, media transparency and responsibility. Azerbaijan is willing to strive to continue its efforts in the upcoming period and ready for open dialogue with all international and local organizations in this respect,” Hasanov said.
© APA 2018