22 September 2021, 23:58
Analysts agree with conclusions on restrictions of Internet freedom in Azerbaijan
While commenting on the Freedom House’s Internet freedom rating, experts in the field of media have claimed that Azerbaijan restricts access to a number of websites, and social media users are persecuted for criticizing the authorities,.
The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that Azerbaijan, along with its neighbours Russia and Iran, is included in the list of countries where Internet is not free. Meanwhile, Georgia with 77 points and Armenia with 71 points were not included in the number of countries with restrictions on Internet.
Blogger Mekhman Guseinov, the chair of the board of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), points out that a number of foreign websites are not accessible from the territory of Azerbaijan. “We are talking about the resources on which investigations about corruption in Azerbaijan are posted, for example, the website of the OCCRP (an international journalists’ network engaged in investigating corruption),” Mekhman Guseinov said.
According to him, the authorities persecute Internet users for criticism. “Agil Gumbatov, a member of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), was placed in a psychiatric hospital for his video messages on Facebook criticizing the leaders of the country. Furthermore, he was recently arrested on a clearly trumped-up charge. I myself am engaged in anti-corruption investigations, for which I was already arrested," Mekhman Guseinov noted.
Bakhtiyar Gadjiev, the head of the Institute for Public Policy, believes that the Internet in Azerbaijan is not free, either completely or partially. According to him, along with the arrests of individual Internet users, the authorities have recently begun to “poison the Internet with the dissemination of fakes and posts about private, sometimes intimate, lives of some users.”
Azerbaijan’s performance in the Freedom House’s report is most likely influenced by the restrictions imposed on the Internet during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, suggests Khalid Agaliev, a coordinator of the Media Rights Institute.
Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent