Azerbaijan

As Azerbaijan hosts Games, press muzzled

Azerbaijan, one of the 10 most censored countries in the world, is the host for the first European Games. In the past year, its government has carried out an unprecedented crackdown on critical journalists. With at least eight, including Khadija Ismayilova, in prison--and others forced to censor themselves or, in the case of media freedom defender Emin Huseynov, go into hiding--CPJ calls on the European Olympic Committees to push Azerbaijan to allow for greater press freedom.

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Blog   |   Azerbaijan

International coalition marks anniversary of crackdown on rights in Azerbaijan

A year after the Azerbaijani government launched an unprecedented crackdown on human rights including press freedom, the situation in the country continues to deteriorate, the Sports for Rights coalition said today. The coalition of international organizations, including CPJ, released a statement today to mark the anniversary of what is widely described as the worst government campaign against critics that Baku has ever carried out.

July 30, 2015 2:29 PM ET

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Statements   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ calls on Azerbaijan to free jailed journalist Khadija Ismayilova

New York, July 23, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who has been imprisoned since December on charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, and abuse of power, among others. Ismayilova's trial is scheduled to be held on Friday in Baku, according to news reports. If convicted, she faces up to 19 years in prison. CPJ and other international press freedom groups believe the charges against Ismayilova are in retaliation for her coverage of corruption in the Azerbaijani government.

July 23, 2015 1:09 PM ET

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Statements   |   Azerbaijan

Media freedom advocate Emin Huseynov flees Azerbaijan as Baku hosts European Games

New York, June 13, 2015-Azerbaijani journalist Emin Huseynov was flown into exile in Switzerland on June 12, a few hours after the opening ceremony of the European Games in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, according to reports. Fearing imminent arrest during the country's crackdown on rights groups and the press, Huseynov, the director of media freedom group Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, went into hiding in the Swiss embassy in Baku in August, according to reports.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Baku 2015: Press freedom, Azerbaijan, and the European Games

Azerbaijani singer Faig Agayev, left, and wrestler Farid Mansurov take part in the Baku Games torch relay on June 9. Azerbaijan has cracked down on the press in the lead up to the first European Games. (AFP/Tofik Babayev)

Tomorrow 50 countries are due to take part in the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku, but Azerbaijan's most prominent journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, will not be at the celebrations. The award-winning investigative reporter has been in jail since December on retaliatory charges over her writing on corruption.

Press Releases   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Olympic Officials Should Insist on Prisoner Releases

As European Games Near, EOC Leaders Should End Silence

(Brussels, May 14, 2015) - The leadership of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) should insist that the government of Azerbaijan release journalists and activists ahead of the European Games, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Azerbaijan will host the games, a multi-sport event for over 6,000 athletes, in Baku from June 12-28, 2015.

May 14, 2015 10:05 AM ET

Impact   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Latvia, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2015

CPJ launches annual publication Attacks on the Press


At a U.N. press conference on April 27 to launch CPJ's annual publication Attacks on the Press, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon called on the U.N. Security Council to include in its May 27 debate on Journalist Safety a warning to states that they should not use national security as an excuse to jail, harass, or censor journalists.

The last three years have been the most deadly for the press, according to CPJ research. One of the reasons is the developing "terror dynamic"--non-state actors targeting journalists with violence while governments restrict civil liberties and press freedom in response. This phenomenon was amply documented in essays published in this year's edition of Attacks on the Press.

The book, which emphasizes reporting and analysis by CPJ staff and outside experts, features essays on multiple threats facing the press: the conflict in Syria, where freelancers and local journalists must adapt to an environment in which they are targets; terror and criminal groups, in countries as Syria, Nigeria, and Mexico, which document their own atrocities and disseminate them through social media; and crackdowns on the press in Ethiopia and Egypt, where governments use the threat of terror to justify repression. Several essays in the book also look at the impact of surveillance in more democratic societies, including those in Europe. The book also includes CPJ's list of the 10 Most Censored Countries.

The print edition of Attacks on the Press is published by Bloomberg Press, an imprint of Wiley, and is available for purchase.

May 7, 2015 4:24 PM ET

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Ireland

CPJ, HRW call on president of European Olympic Committees to engage with Azerbaijan on press freedom, human rights

A delegation of representatives from CPJ and Human Rights Watch met yesterday with Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees, at the Dublin headquarters of the Olympic Council of Ireland. The delegation discussed the dismal state of press freedom and human rights in Azerbaijan, the host of the first-ever European Games in June and one of the 10 Most Censored Countries in the world.

Letters   |   Azerbaijan, Ireland

CPJ calls on European Olympic Committees to engage with Azerbaijan on press freedom

Dear President Patrick Hickey: I am writing on behalf of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent international press freedom organization, to call your attention to the dismal climate for press freedom in Azerbaijan, which is scheduled to host the first-ever European Games on June 12.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

International coalition calls on European Court to prioritize Azerbaijani press cases

Azerbaijan, one of the 10 Most Censored Countries in the world, according to new research by the Committee to Protect Journalists, is to host the first-ever European Games this June. As Baku prepares to bask in the spotlight by hosting an international mega-event yet again, eight of the country's independent journalists, including award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, languish in jail in retaliation for their work. Azerbaijan's most prominent media freedom defender, Emin Huseynov, has taken refuge at the Swiss embassy to avoid politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment; dozens of human rights defenders and civil activists have been jailed or forced into exile; and the work of multiple independent nongovernmental organizations and media outlets has been paralyzed or shuttered by authorities that have zero tolerance for criticism or dissent.

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