This is the first trial regarding the media registry in the country.
22saat.org website sued the State Media Development Agency. The reason for this is that the institution gave a negative answer to the website’s request to be included in the media register. After the approval of the Media Law in January 2022, it is necessary a State registration with the Agency for a media outlet be able to operate in the country.
The Media Development Agency refused to include 24saat.org in the media register. Based on this, the rejection letter indicated that the site’s activity is not sustainable. The agency requires each site to post at least 20 private news stories to the online media resource every day. It is claimed that 24saat.org site does not meet this requirement.
After the rejection of the Media Development Agency, the head of the online media resource decided to sue the agency. The case brought against the agency will be considered in the Baku Administrative Court.
According to information obtained by Meydan TV, judge Aysev Almazova was assigned to investigate this matter. This will be the first court hearing in Azerbaijan regarding the media registry.
The website raised before the court the illegality of that decision – the legislation is clear, incompatible with the Constitution and international agreements, the rejection decision was not substantiated, and asked the agency to place the duty of including the site in the register, to recognize the violation of the right to freedom of expression.
Khalid Agaliyev, an expert on media law, says that there are other media organizations and journalists who applied for inclusion in the register, but received a refusal, and turned to the courts:
“In this case, the right step would be for the Media Agency to automatically include in the register all those who express their intention to join the register, respecting the requirements of the Constitution. Then, let it control how they follow the law in force, and apply the law. But the most correct way, of course, is to change the reactionary legislation on the media. The law that outlines the framework for the editorial policy, obligates the journalist how much and how to write and distribute news, and creates discrimination between those engaged in journalistic work, as written in the resolution adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe last month, the law must be changed and measures applied to fully adapt it to the standards of the Council of Europe”.