12 February 2010, 22:10

Azerbaijan is not unanimous on amendments to laws on journalists

In the evening on Friday, February 12, the National Assembly of Azerbaijan with 92 votes for and 7 votes against approved the amendments to a number of legislation acts imposing restrictions on collection and dissemination of information.

In particular, amendments were made in the laws "On Mass Media", "On Freedom of Information", "On Operative-Search Activities" and "On Obtaining Information".

The essence of the novelty is in the amendment to Article 60 of the law "On Mass Media", which runs that "except for operative-search actions, nobody can be exposed, without his/her consent and against his/her objections, to shadowing, video, photo and audio recording by mass media people." This sort of activity shall entail responsibility as stipulated by the legislation. Similar formulations have been brought into other above laws.

The opposition, civil society and independent press have regarded these amendments as restrictions on journalistic activities.

As asserted by Ali Guseinov, head of the parliamentary committee on legal policy and state construction, the innovations has no aim to restrict the freedom of mass media, but is directed towards protection of citizens' personal and family privacy.

According to Mr Guseinov, the above restrictive norms will not cover any "socially significant activity or information."

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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