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Ali Hasanov chastises Freedom House report

Chief of the Department for Socio-Political Affairs at Azerbaijan`s Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov has criticized the Freedom House`s freedom of the press report 2013.

He said: “The part of the Freedom House`s report on the freedom of press in 2013 related to Azerbaijan refers to biased and controversial sources and is based on subjective views. That is why this report is not objective. The report shows that biased stereotypes on Azerbaijan and the Eurasian region were created at the organization.”

“Today, hundreds of media outlets including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet resources are functioning in Azerbaijan. Both the country’s legislation and existing environment totally guarantee free operations of the media. Developing freedom of speech and press, upgrading facilities at media outlets, improving social security of journalists, solving problems of media are priorities of the state policy. The Freedom House does not earn respect by paying no heed to the favorable environment, deliberate exaggeration of some minor cases that may occur in the country and distortion of the real situation.  All these facts prove that the methodology used by Freedom House has shortcomings, is subjective, does not reflect the reality and serve some interests.”

“As far as the allegations regarding the internet situation are concerned, we can say that information and communication technologies are one of the most rapidly developing sectors of the Azerbaijani economy. Hundreds of websites, portals, etc exist in Azerbaijan. 70 percent of the Azerbaijan population is internet users, and the number of social networks users nears 2 million.”

He said: “The number of Facebook users alone makes up 1.2 million. This fact clearly indicates that Internet is totally free in Azerbaijan and there are no restrictions imposed in this sphere. As to the “control” over journalists` internet correspondence and telephone talks and other such allegations, we can state that there are some other rich “practices” known in the world.”

“The citizens of Azerbaijan benefit from democratic values including human rights, media freedom rather than these “practices” used in some great powers. Therefore, instead of “looking for a black cat in a dark room”, Freedom House would be better to investigate these issues and bring real results. This could probably improve its image,” Hasanov added.