Azerbaijan Press Council condemns France's campaign against Azerbaijani journalists - STATEMENT

Azerbaijan Press Council condemns France
# 13 December 2023 10:31 (UTC +04:00)

The slander campaign against employees of the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) in the French media is a pathetic behavior that runs counter to all ethical rules and values. Such an unacceptable approach is nothing more than a poor attempt to justify the restriction of the freedom of speech, was said in the statement issued by the Azerbaijan Press Council, APA reports.

A statement issued by the Azerbaijan Press Council says, “As is known, AZERTAC employee Aygun Hasanova was sent to the French colony of New Caledonia on December 3 this year to cover the liberation movement of the local population. However, she was denied access to the territory at the airport allegedly because she did not have a visa. The journalist was threatened with arrest and sent to a third country. Such an illegal act caused a great outrage in the Azerbaijani media, as media organizations of the country issued protest statements.

It seems that all this, along with the unacceptable actions in New Caledonia, reverberated a lot in the world media and prompted the French authorities to search for a “justification”. This is the only possible explanation for the “black PR” campaign unleashed against AZERTAC employees and the fact that they have been labeled as “spies”.

There was nothing illegal in the activities of media representatives of our country. They have a well-founded human and social motive in their desire to report on the freedom struggle of the people of New Caledonia. The failure of the New Caledonian police to take this into account and the creation of artificial barriers for the activities of our journalists represents explicit disregard for the freedom of speech, which is considered an integral part of fundamental human rights and freedoms. We also need to take into account the fact that the injustices against our journalist have also been condemned by the president of the Caledonian Union political party, Daniel Goa, who expressed support for our media representatives.

Under such circumstances, the attempts of the French media to discredit Azerbaijani journalists once again confirm that the country's government intends to cover up its despotic nature. The goal is quite obvious: prevent the revelation of truth about peoples under colonial yoke, including those of New Caledonia.

The Azerbaijan Press Council strongly condemns the slander campaign against the AZERTAC employees and the dissemination of provocative information in the French media. The Press Council considers this an anti-democratic step and a demonstration of intolerance towards free speech, and states that such an approach runs counter to both ethical values and the historical progressive nature of French statehood.

It is regrettable that the incumbent president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and his autocratic administration are too paralyzed to realize the extent of harm they are causing to the country by playing primitive political games with the freedom of speech. The Press Council calls on the media community of the world to raise their voice of protest against the unacceptable actions of the French authorities.”

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