"The purpose of the Law on Media, which was signed by the President in February of this year and is considered as a "roadmap" of media reforms in Azerbaijan, is to ensure the security of the information space of our country, to encourage the development of local media, to improve the health of the information environment, and to increase competitiveness, as well as to create conditions for raising the reputation of the journalism profession."
Ahmad Ismayilov, executive director of the Media Development Agency (MDA), said this in an interview with the local media.
Fakt Yoxla examined the claim.
In December of last year, a new Law on Media was adopted in Azerbaijan.
The law has been severely criticized by many independent experts and representatives of relevant international organizations.
The Venice Commission (VC) of the Council of Europe said in a statement about the document, "Such a law cannot be applied by a member state of the Council of Europe."
In the commission's opinion, various articles of the law were evaluated based on the Constitution of Azerbaijan and the European Convention on Human Rights.
VC gave an opinion on the restrictive nature of various provisions of the document and their removal from the law. These articles include prevention of information dissemination in emergency situations, accreditation of journalists, licensing of media organizations, creation of the possibility to interfere with media organizations that disseminate information about Azerbaijan inside and outside the country, etc.
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, called on President Ilham Aliyev to use his authority to return the law to the Milli Majlis for fundamental revision.
In her letter, she expressed her serious concern that the law adopted by the parliament on December 30, 2021, without extensive and reasonable consultations does not comply with international standards regarding freedom of expression and media.
The Commissioner emphasized that the document over-regulates the press field and the journalist profession, contrary to the principles of free, independent, censorship-free media, and pluralism.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), headquartered in New York, called for the repeal of the law on February 10, 2022.
The institution specifically noted that the law increases state control over the press.
Gülnoza Said, the program coordinator for Europe and Central Asia of the Committee, said, "Azerbaijan's new media law is full of ambiguities and heavy requirements, and seems to be deliberately calculated to target the last pillars of free media covering the country."
The representative of CPJ further said, "President Ilham Aliyev should never have approved this law, and now the authorities should cancel it and try not to use it against members of the press."
The adoption of this law was accompanied by mass protests of independent journalists in Baku.
Fakt Yoxla concludes that Ahmad Ismayilov's claim is False.