Government to Gift 255 Apartments to Journalists

A commission to grant some 255 apartments to Azerbaijani journalists in Baku has completed its review of over 1000 candidates. 

“The commission for providing apartments to journalists has completed its work”, said executive director of the State Media Support Foundation under the President of Azerbaijan Vugar Safarli told APA. 255 journalists have been chosen

"In order to avoid any subjectivity in the dispensation of apartments - a gift from the head of state to journalists – the commission strictly observed the pre-established criteria," he further said. 

These criteria were released in May 2017 by the State Support Fund for Media Development. 

According to Safarli, the right to housing is provided to journalists who have worked continuously for at least three years in one of the country's media organizations and have at least 10 years of experience in journalism.

Safarli also mentioned that when considering candidates, journalists who have worked for the “black list’ of the Press Council of Azerbaijan “were not taken into account”. 

A decree to improve the living conditions of journalists in Azerbaijan was signed in  2010. The first apartment complex for journalists in Baku was opened in 2013.

This ‘gift’ caused widespread discussion in Azerbaijani media circles. Some media representatives welcomed the decision, while others said that ethical codes of journalism should prevent journalists from accepting such lavish gifts. 

Apartments in building mentioned above will be handed over to journalists on July 22, 2017 - on National Press Day. The 17 floored building consists of 3 entrances and 255 apartments.

According to the latest research from Reporters Without Borders, the situation with freedom of speech and media freedom in Azerbaijan is assessed as "extremely difficult." Azerbaijan is in 162nd place in a list of 180 countries, when both its nearest neighbors are in 64th (Georgia) and 79th (Armenia) place.

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