“Forum of Intelligentsia” of Azerbaijan made an appeal on the problems, the pro-democracy “Azadliq” newspaper is facing lately. I have translated the text and please, see it below.
To see the original in Azerbaijan language go here: http://azadliq.info/xeberler-menu/311-son-xbrlr/23590-ziyallar-forumu-azadlqn-muedafisin-qalxd.html
End the steps directed at abolition of “Azadlıq” newspaper. The aggressive steps against the newspaper is a shame on Azerbaijan
Forum of Intelligentsia made an appeal to the Azerbaijani society and authorities for the pressures and attacks on “Azadliq” newspaper. It reads:
“In recent months we observe a very unpleasant process. This is a process counted at suppression, abolition of the newspaper that takes its root from the aggressive attitude of the Azerbaijani high-ranking state officials. This is unpleasant process just for the case that it is not an ordinary newspaper. It is in harmony with the independence of Azerbaijan and a tribune for democracy ideals of the Azerbaijani people and human freedoms.
Since its 23 years of existence, “Azadlıq” has seen different powers, but it has never withdrawn from its democracy ideals and idea of independence of Azerbaijan. Even, “Azadliq” newspaper having shared the same principles with the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, continued its activity with the same ideals during their tenure in power in 1992-1993.
During this period, “Azadlıq” has turned into a newspaper being recognized and respected by the Azerbaijani society and the progressive world. The aggressive steps against the newspaper is adding additional negative image to the name of Azerbaijan and it is now bound to those, who stand behind it. The moves against newspaper are a big disgraceful act, if they are determined by the people close to Azerbaijani authorities or are a policy of the government, on the whole.
The appeal further reads: “the newspaper is facing the hardest pressures ever and stopping it is not on the agenda of those who stand behind them. During these years, its journalists have been arrested, beaten, insulted and forced into emigration. Newspaper has been removed from its office and placed into a premise unfavorable for the work. It continually faces unjust court decisions for bigger fines. Now its bank account is under arrest. The steps are there to destroy it. Working under these conditions demands self-sacrifice, this is being practiced by its collaborators.
The appeal ends with these notes: “As a “Forum of Intelligentsia” we can’t remain indifferent to the punishment measures directed at the newspaper. It is not a pressure against the newspaper, but also against the democracy and democracy initiatives as well as fundamental freedoms.
This is why, we appeal to state officials who are Sides to the court sanctions against the newspaper and to those who form the political image of the country:
End the steps directed at suppression of “Azadliq” newspaper; take back your claims against the newspaper, which is greatly singled out amongst the achievements of the country. The aggressive steps against the newspaper are shame on Azerbaijan. We believe that our appeal will be correctly evaluated. At the same time, we think that we and the progressive part of society will do their utmost efforts to keep “Azadliq” newspaper functioning.
“Forum of Intelligentsia” that works for the sake of strengthening of the progressive values of society is ready to mobilize the society using its authority to save the newspaper from crisis. But we think that this problem can be resolved should the authorities have political will to do so. Therefore, this appeal is firstly addressed to the authorities.
Deputy-chairperson for Foreign Affairs of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan
Chairman at “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC)