Silencing voices: how Azerbaijani authorities systematically tighten grip on media

Journalists protest in Baku against the adoption of the new media law. Photo: MeydanTV

In Azerbaijan, a recent surge in government crackdowns on dissenting voices within the country has sparked widespread concern over the erosion of press freedom and civil liberties.

The Azerbaijani government’s tactics of arresting journalists and activists, often under the pretext of charges such as foreign currency smuggling, have intensified, raising concerns from human rights organizations and the international community.

The situation came to light with the reported raids on independent media outlets and civil society organizations. Among those targeted were Mushfiq Jabbar, Ali Zeynal, Farid Ismayilov, Elmir Abbasov, Ramin Babayev, and Ilkin Amrahov. Their arrests, coupled with accusations of involvement in illegal activities, underscored a broader pattern of government suppression of dissenting voices.

Families of the detained individuals have raised concerns over the financial hardships faced by media workers and activists in Azerbaijan. Matanat Jabbar, the mother of Mushfiq Jabbar, defended her son’s innocence and highlighted the dire circumstances her family now faces following his arrest.

This crackdown is not an isolated incident. Media outlets like AbzasMedia have also been targeted, suggesting a systematic campaign to stifle independent journalism and civil society activism. Human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have condemned the Azerbaijani government’s actions, citing restrictive legislation that severely limits the operation of NGOs and media organizations.

Anar Mammadli, representing the Election Monitoring and Democracy Education Center, has pointed to a troubling history of unjust arrests targeting journalists and activists critical of the government. He emphasizes that recent changes in legislation governing NGOs and grants have further restricted their activities, raising serious concerns about freedom of expression and association.

The families directly affected, such as that of Ilkin Amrahov, express deep frustration and disbelief at the situation. Ayyar Amrahov, Ilkin’s father, voices concerns about the motives behind the arrests and the impact on their family.

Overall, the Azerbaijani government’s approach to arresting critics involves a combination of legal measures and targeted actions against independent media and civil society. The targeting of journalists and activists calls for urgent attention and action.

ГлавнаяNewsSilencing voices: how Azerbaijani authorities systematically tighten grip on media