Friday Wrap-up: May first, state of the media in Azerbaijan and EU press conference

Illustration of May first’s action. Source: Meydan TV.

The week of May 2-6 saw May first protest in Baku, numbers of incidents with journalists in Azerbaijan for 2022 and a press conference with the head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on May 1, removing hundreds of protesters by truck

The D18 Movement held a rally in front of the labor monument on International Labor Day, May first. Protesters dedicated the rally to Bolt and Volt couriers and chanted “end to exploitation”. Police officers in the area intervened in the meeting. Ten activists were detained and later released.

60 registered incidents with journalists in the first four months of 2022

In the first four months of this year, at least 60 incidents involving journalists took place in Azerbaijan.

This includes harassment of professional journalists, prosecution, fines, criminal proceedings, travel bans, denial of access to information about court proceedings, summonses to the prosecutor’s office for questioning, and so on. 

The statement was prepared by media rights expert Khalid Agaliyev on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day. According to the lawyer, the most noticeable trend this year is the increase in defamation accusations. Agaliyev also added that over the past four months, government agencies and courts have made more than 40 decisions in cases involving journalists. Only three of them were in their favor.

Peter Michalko: “Media can develop only when it is independent”

The head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Peter Michalko held a press conference on May 4 for Azerbaijani media representatives in Baku.

Michalko reminded that the European Union has allocated two-billion euros for economic and investment projects in Azerbaijan. The diplomat believes that with the new agreement, the Baku-Brussels partnership can reach a higher level. According to him, the projects and programs open new opportunities for government agencies, civil society and students.

When asked about the new media law, Michalko said he hopes that the law does not affect rights of the journalists in the country, because he believes “media can only develop when it is independent”. He added that the EU wants to provide concrete assistance in improving the skills of Azerbaijani media, especially outside of Baku.

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