OSCE media freedom representative condemns attack against Azerbaijani journalists

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović condemned an attack on a group of journalists in Sabirabad region in central Azerbaijan Friday and called on the authorities to carry out a swift investigation.

“I strongly condemn today’s attack on the journalists,” Mijatović said. “Violence against journalists continues to endanger media freedom situation in Azerbaijan.”

According to media reports, a group of journalists, including Etimad Budagov from Turan Information Agency, Roya Rafieyeva from Yeni Musavat and Ramin Deko and Sevinc Vagifgyzy from Azadliq newspapers, were attacked and physically assaulted while covering the election-campaign event of a candidate for the presidential post, in the Sabirabad region. The attack took place in the presence of law enforcement officers who reportedly did not intervene to prevent the beating. Some of the journalists were seriously injured and their equipment damaged.

“Any violence against journalists is unacceptable and should be treated as an attack against the society as a whole,” said Mijatović.  “It is particularly unacceptable if the attack took place in the presence of police officers, who are responsible to assist and protect journalists.”

“I urge the authorities to launch immediate investigation in the case to bring the attackers to justice and do their utmost to ensure the safety of media workers at all times.”

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