The future is black for free expression and civil society advocates in Azerbaijan: Dunja Mijatović

On the 10th anniversary of the death of Azeri journalist Elmar Huseynov, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović, called on OSCE participating States to ensure journalists’ safety and the right to freedom of expression, according to OSCE’s official website.

“On the anniversary of the death of Elmar Huseynov, the issue of journalists’ safety must be raised,” Mijatović said. “Attacks and harassment of journalists in the OSCE region is growing while thorough investigations are scarce, which has a chilling effect on free media.”

Elmar Huseynov, the founder and editor of the independent weekly news magazine Monitor, was shot and killed outside his apartment on 2 March 2005. The magazine had been under constant pressure from authorities for the critical nature of some of the articles published. Huseynov’s killers remain at large.

In an article published by the Huffington Post Dunja Mijatović said “Huseynov is far from alone in being prosecuted.”

“There are more than 10 members of the media, including journalists, bloggers and social media activists, in prison today – one of the largest numbers of any country that is part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The lengths to which Azerbaijani authorities will go to round up dissenting voices are troubling,” she said.

According to Mijatović, “The systematic shutdown of dissenting voices and their outlets are clear violations of commitments on free media and free expression that Azerbaijan has signed on to as a participating State of the OSCE.”

“Just four years ago it seemed to me that Azerbaijan had a promising future for its media and civil society. Now, for free expression and civil society advocates, the future is just black,” she said.

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