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Report details Internet restriction, netizen detention in Azerbaijan

(IRFS/IFEX) - 5 November 2012 - Now more than ever, Azerbaijan's government should guarantee fundamental freedoms for its people, the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) emphasizes in its groundbreaking new report, The Right to Remain Silent. On the eve of the 7th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), taking place in Baku this week, and with less than a year left until the next presidential election in Azerbaijan, IRFS has developed this report to highlight its concerns regarding violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in the country.

"IGF delegates should be aware of the human rights situation in the IGF host country," said IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov. "We call on delegates not to turn a blind eye to these ongoing violations of fundamental freedoms, but to raise these serious issues in their discussions with the Azerbaijani authorities during the IGF."

In the report, IRFS concludes that the Azerbaijani authorities have taken steps to curtail all three fundamental freedoms in recent years, and particularly in connection with two major international events being held in Baku in 2012: the Eurovision Song Contest in May, and the upcoming IGF. The report explores topics such as violence against journalists, detention of media workers and human rights defenders, and state control of the media.

"The report's findings are a cause for serious concern," said Huseynov. "They show systematic repression by the authorities, who seem determined to silence all critical voices in the country. Ensuring the right to freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms must be addressed as a priority issue, particularly in the run-up to next year's presidential election."

This report has been published thanks to generous support from the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan and International Media Support.


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