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As Eurovision host, Azerbaijan must promote free press

Today in its report on the Most Censored Countries in the world, CPJ singled out Azerbaijan for its lack of foreign or independent broadcasters and because the handful of journalists there who manage to work on independent newspapers or websites are subjected to intimidation, harassment, physical attacks that occur with impunity for those responsible, and imprisonment on fabricated charges. Recently, CPJ urged President Ilham Aliyev to reverse a crackdown on the press that has led to the jailing of at least six journalists.

All of this comes as Baku prepares to host the international Eurovision song contest in May. Today in Geneva, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova addressed a workshop on press conditions in Azerbaijan hosted by the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees the organization of the contest. Ognianova urged the EBU to publicly condemn media freedom violations in the country and demand clear, concrete steps from the Azerbaijani government to improve press freedom conditions, and said that international leaders must also raise the issue at every opportunity. Her full remarks can be found here.

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