The US State Department has expressed concern over the new Media Law passed by the Milli Majlis on January 5. The Department believes that the law is intended to restrict independent journalism in Azerbaijan.
According to Turan TV, a State Department spokesman expressed worry with the hurry of the Azerbaijani parliament to send the proposed law ‘On Media’ to President Ilham Aliyev for ratification. He hopes that the Presidential Administration will carefully take into account the views of independent journalists, media experts and international groups, including the OSCE, when considering the bill.
The spokesman added that the State Department will continue to monitor the developments of the law’s ratification closely.
The new draft law “On Media” was discussed at the plenary session of the Milli Majlis on December 14. It was approved in the third reading on December 30, however, President Ilham Aliyev has not yet approved the document.
Journalists protested against the adoption of the new law in Baku last week. They criticize the legislation, which opens wide opportunities for the state to determine who can carry out media activities and poses a threat to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.