Friday Wrap-up: film industry, life threats and Open Budget Index

Illustration: Meydan TV.

The week of May 30 – June 3 saw changes in the Azerbaijani film industry management, a political immigrant receiving life threats and the 2021 Open Budget Index.

New modifications in the national film industry management

A general meeting of the board and members of the Union of Cinematographers of Azerbaijan took place on May 31.

It was agreed that the two unions representing film industry workers should be merged into the Union of Cinematographers of Azerbaijan. This measure lead to the extinction of the other union, which was established in 2012. There were also discussions about public budget resources for the film industry, deemed insufficient by many.

Also this week, the establishment of a joint film organization for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Turkish republics was approved. The Confederation of Cinematographers’ Unions of the CIS Turkic Republics will have its headquarters most likely in Baku.

Political immigrant video blogger living in Europe reports life threats from Azerbaijan

Tural Sadigli, a political immigrant living in Germany and the founder of the social media channel Azad Soz, says his life was in serious danger since he started to receive life threats from his home country.

The video blogger claims he have been repeatedly told not to talk about Mehriban Aliyeva (Azerbaijani vice-president and wife of President Ilham Aliyev) and her team. Sadigli believes President Aliyev’s personal assistants are the perpetrators of the threats.

Part of his work in the past years includes covering and investigating properties of the Azerbaijani president’s family by going to the venues, knocking on the doors and asking questions while recording.

Azerbaijani budget lacks on public participation

According to the 2021 Open Budget Index, Azerbaijan ranks 44th out of 120 countries in terms of budget transparency, with a total of 57 out of 100 points, followed by Uganda and Ghana.

With a score of nine points, the level of disclosure of information related to the public budget in Azerbaijan remains limited, as well as public participation on budget discussions and civil society presence on parliamentary debates.

The South Caucasus neighboring countries are better ranked in the Index than Azerbaijan. Georgia ranks first among 120 countries in the budget transparency indicator, scoring 87 points, while Armenia occupies the 33rd place.

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