Gudrat Hasanguliyev: The authorities should release journalists for the sake of state’s interests

Gudrat Hasanguliyev:  The authorities should release journalists for the sake of state’s interests
# 11 May 2007 16:58 (UTC +04:00)
- Negotiations on the forming alliances within the opposition have started in connection with the forthcoming presidential elections. Is UAPFP taking part in such discussions?
- Our party does not hold any negotiations on this issue. But we think it is possible to put forward a united candidate forming centrist forces bloc.
- Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) offered dialogue with the authorities. What is your assessment of possibility of dialogue between authorities and opposition?
- There is huge need for such dialogue. But ADP’s dialogue offer is different from that of ours. The difference is that ADP praises the authorities endlessly and thinks that dialogue is necessary because of positive changes in the authorities. But we stressed the necessity for dialogue to better the relations between them. We are pleased today because those forces which could not bear our proposals now made serious changes in their position. Some even praise the government in the parliament and vote in favor of its report.
- What are your proposals regarding the composition of Central Election Commission as an experienced person in elections issues?
- There is no links between democracy and forming of Central Election Commission in Azerbaijan. I disagree with the approach of some international organizations and opposition parties that regards forming of election commissions on parity as the main factor for having a democratic election. Democratic elections first of all need normal relationships between authorities and the opposition. We offer forming the election commissions by two representatives from the opposition party with more seats in the parliament, one from the parties with less seats and which vote against government’s report and two representatives from the opposition which is not represented in the parliament. The subcommittees should also be formed on the same principle. If it is not so, the Central Election Commission is of no importance. This body should be liquidated and its responsibilities must pass to Justice or Interior Ministry like in some countries. In that case, the government assumes all responsibility before the international society.
- Media has become the most debated issue recently…
- This issue has many controversial moments. In my opinion, some officials try to achieve confrontation of the head of state with international organizations and create problems for this purpose. Representatives of UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and other media institutions have made statements on the issue. Since the international organizations are concerned about the current situation, it means there is need for serious thought. Because Azerbaijan has Nagorno Karabakh problem and a country with such a big problem should not escalate relations with international organizations. This can have a bad impact on the settlement of major problems of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, today there are statements made on the break of relations with some international organizations. This means direct confrontation with those organizations. The government would better release arrested journalists for the sake of the state’s interests.
- But it won’t solve the problem. Journalists will face be sued for insult and slander and arrested. Maybe, the parliament has to accelerate approval of law on defamation?
- I think that it is early to adopt this law in Azerbaijan. Our press and society are not ready to this. If the press writes news basing on rumors the responsibility for insult and slander have to be effective. If this responsibility is eliminated the relations will have to be solved on personal level, and it will cause anarchy.
- The problem is there is such a responsibility now but at the same time there is slander and insult. May be it is expedient to amend the law on media, to make severe the terms of issuing license to press or principles of Labor Code and adopt the law on defamation…
- I support the adoption of law on defamation. But I consider it early to adopt it now. Unless the problems within the press are solved the adoption of this law will have negative influence on serious media outlets. You will also suffer from this.
- What can you say about the recent Amnesty act?
- I accept the Amnesty act normally. There was a need for the adoption of this act. It would be good if the amnesty act had applied to journalists. But I want to mention that 8 amnesty and 32 pardon decrees have been issued since 1995. I think that there is a need for a long break after the adoption of this decision. If such decisions are made often it will weaken the state’s punishment policy. There are items in the Criminal Code that commute the punishments of those who obey the rules. But the Amnesty act can not take into consideration the prisoners’ behavior. For example, the relative of the man committed crime was never awarded state prize. But I have a fact that the brother of a man who is searched has a high post in law-enforcement bodies. How can we talk about combating crimes in this case? The interests of the victims of crimes should be taken into consideration.
- You proposed to shorten Azerbaijan’s state anthem in recent sitting of the parliament…
- I witnessed many times that people made noise during the performance of our anthem in international competitions. The anthem meeting international standards lasts about two minutes. Our anthem lasts for four minutes. People get tired and make noise. It is disrespect towards the anthem. Therefore I offered to shorten it.
- You are in the parliament’s football team. Do you continue trainings?
- Our trainings are not so intensive. We play sometimes. After our match against Romanian colleagues was postponed because of crisis in the country we do not train regularly. We intended to invite our Turkish colleagues to a friendship match on May 28. But Turkish parliamentarians are not in good mood to play football. We are not thinking of inviting another country yet. /APA/