OSCE welcomes pardoning of journalists in Azerbaijan but urges legal reform

OSCE welcomes pardoning of journalists in Azerbaijan but urges legal reform
# 03 January 2008 09:59 (UTC +04:00)
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OSCE Office in Baku today welcomed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s pardon of five imprisoned journalists but urged to reconsider the underlying laws on defamation, OSCE Office in Baku told APA.
Rovshan Kabirli and Yashar Aghazade, editor-in-chief and editor from the newspaper Mukhalifat; Faramaz Novruzoglu, correspondent from the newspaper Nota Bene; and Samir Sadagatoglu and Rafig Tagi, editor-in-chief and correspondent of the newspaper Senet, were released from prison following a Presidential decree that was issued on 28 December 2007.
"I am relieved to hear that some of the journalists are free, but we should not forget that three journalists remain in detention," said Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, referring to Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor-in-chief of Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaycan, and the brothers Genimet and Sakit Zahidov from the newspaper Azadliq, who are still in prison.
Ambassador Jose Luis Herrero, Head of the OSCE Office in Baku, said: "I hope that the pardoning of these journalists will help the very needed normalization of the situation of the media in Azerbaijan. Efforts to consolidate democratic mechanisms of interaction between the media, the Government and society at large should continue in a spirit of cooperation among all the actors involved."
"The OSCE remains ready to support the Government of Azerbaijan, media professionals and civil society to preserve, consolidate and reinforce the freedom of the press," Ambassador Herrero concluded. /APA/
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