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As Eurovision starts, partnership cites Baku repression

Police in Baku arrest a man during a protest seeking reforms in conjunction with Eurovision. (DAPD/Joern Haufe)

As the Eurovision song contest gets under way in Baku, Azerbaijani authorities continue to suppress freedom of expression, detaining 10 protesters on Monday, Reuters reported. The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, a coalition of free expression organizations that includes the Committee to Protect Journalists, has launched a website, Facebook and Twitter pages to highlight the country's long record of repression. 

The website and social media platforms detail the partnership's efforts to promote freedom of expression in the Caspian Sea nation, where over the past decade authorities have jailed and harassed dozens of journalists and fostered a climate of impunity in anti-press violence.

The launch follows a May 2 workshop in Geneva on press conditions in Azerbaijan that was hosted by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which oversees the organization of the Eurovision contest. Following the workshop, CPJ and other IPGA members urged the EBU to publicly condemn media freedom violations in the country, abandon its policy of neutrality, and demand concrete steps from the Azerbaijani government to improve its human rights record.

The partnership is coordinated by the UK-based free-expression organization Article 19.

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