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Baku uses Formula 1 race to portray itself as benign authority: Freedom House

As international visitors gather in Baku, Azerbaijan, for Formula 1’s European Grand Prix on June 19, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The government of Azerbaijan tries to use sporting events like the Formula 1 race to portray itself as a modern, benign authority even as it conducts a brutal crackdown on its citizens’ fundamental freedoms and muffles all dissent,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president.

“We urge the journalists and corporate sponsors arriving in Baku to look beyond the glossiness of the race by examining the government’s repressive policies, including the unjustified detention of more than 80 political activists, human rights defenders, and reporters.”

Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.86 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.

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