What are your going to know? A brief portrait of the Mass Media in Azerbaijan. Current situation in the media, under what condition do the journalists work? Right to access to information. State of the print media. Television and radio broadcasting in Azerbaijan. Online media in Azerbaijan. Legal disputes against the Mass Media. Journalism education, what has been done to improve that sphere?
A brief portrait of the Mass Media in Azerbaijan. There are more than 3700 registered newspapers in Azerbaijan. However, approximately 30 newspapers are publishing daily, or weekly. Some of these newspapers are in Russian and English. In the regions we also have ethnic minorities newspapers in their languages. During the 70 years Soviet period media was totally depend on the government, there was strong censorship in local media from the government. Media was a tool for propaganda. It is 20 years that Azerbaijan reestablished it’s freedom. Now the situation a little bit changed, still there is some media which works following old, Soviet rules. However, there was accepted new laws for journalist and media. It was included to Azerbaijan constitution that everyone has a right to get information.(50th article)
Right to access to information. Six people out of seven, now are free. Media Rights Institution (MRI) prepared it’s annual report and there mentioned that those people imprisoned because of the freedom of speech. 2007-editor-in-chief of the “Gundelik Azerbaijan” newspaper, Eynulla Fatullayev, was arrested because of his article and after were convicted in some other crimes are still under the prison. He sentenced to 8 years and 6 moths of imprisonment. 2009- there was raised new charge against Eynulla Fatullayev claiming that in the cloth and shoes of the journalist was found drug. He was serving his sentence in a high security prison. This fact sentenced him to 2 year and 6 moths of imprisonment. 2011, May 26-He was released after Azerbaijani president IlhamAliyev signed an order on the pardon of several prisoners.
Current situation in the media, under what kind of conditions do the journalists work? According to the MRI in Baku the psychological, physical pressure on journalists and threaten circumstances were observed during below mentioned situations:
During collecting of information from mass actions
During preparation of reportage from the objects of open meetings, construction objects, the areas where took place the accidents
During consideration of complaint;
Theraten of editorships;
During participation in hearings and etc.
Legal disputes against the Mass Media. (MRI report) 2010- media and journalists were targeted to psychological, physical pressure and were threaten more that 106 times. 56 journalists were targets of these type of pressure. The majority part of pressure was directed on the representatives of critical news media. The attacks were carried as from the side of police and other government structure officials In 2010 there were charged totally 71 court proceedings against media. 31 of those proceedings were in special conviction procedure and there were requested criminal penalties for journalists because of their writings. 5 complaints of 31, lodged on special investigation procedure, was solved by reconcillation. Regarding 17 cases the court satisfied the demands partly. The most heavy compensation was asked from the most printing critical newspapers “Azadlig” and “Yeni Musavat”.the son of the Minister of Transportrequested from these two editorship to pay 500 000 AZN for the writings about him
State of the print media. Especially, critic print media is under the pressure. Some of the challenges in Print Media according to the Media Rights Institute’s annual report in April, 2010: Contribution to this filed amounts to zero; Critic print media’s opportunity to use commercial market was exhausted; Administrative pressures against the print bodies exist; Circulation of the most polar critic newspapers is in the amount of 5000-10000; There is lack of independent and impartial newspapers;
State of the print media. The amendments of 6 March 2009 made to the Law on Mass Media also cause anxiety. Article 19 of the Law establishes: “Relevant executive body initiates lawsuit before the court to stop activity of the editorial office for two months: 1) if a foreigner or a person not having high education are appointed to the post of editor (editor-in chief) of the newspaper; 2) if after bearing administrative responsibility for abuse of freedom of mass information and journalist rights, it recommits the same action during a year.
Television and radio broadcasting in Azerbaijan. Totally, 8 national and 12 local television channels act. Main reasons of not establishing new television channels are the serious problems existing in the license system of the television and radio broadcasting. Contrary to the requirements of the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting the National Television and Radio Council does not disclose the list of the frequencies fitting for broadcasting to the society. Broadcasting of the radio channels Europ+Baku (Russia), “Azadlıq”, BBC and “Voice of America” stopped with the decision of the National Television and Radio Council
Online media in Azerbaijan. The Press Council of Azerbaijan mentions that there are almost 10 internet TV and radio in Azerbaijan. More than 1000 people have their own blogs. Somehow, it shows the importance of internet and online media in Azerbaijan. People are getting more interested in new media. Still it is very new sphere in Azerbaijan, especially for regions far from the capital Baku. The other problem is now we have big gap between new generation journalists and traditional ones. Young journalists they are mostly keen on online journalism, and some of them trying to have their own media in order to realize her or his skills.
www.bakupost.org 2011, March 4-my colleague Khanim Javadova and I opened this site. First time it was news blog based on the WordPress platform. 2011, April 29-we moved to the website. www.bakupost.org is an independent, multimedia based media sample in Azerbaijan. Our aim is to give news, opinion and culture from Baku and beyond in English. So, the website is a reliable source for international media as well. We do not have any funding, moreover, very few volunteers contribute with us. Our consultant is Prof. Joanne Lisosky, Fulbright in Azerbaijan
Journalism education, what has been done to improve that sphere? There are 11 universities in Azerbaijan where you can study journalism. Three out of 11 are state universities, rest of all are private. Here are the main disadvantages of journalism education here:
Mostly based on theory came from the Soviet period.
Lack of equipment
Lack of experienced teachers
Not enough teaching materials in native language.
Now some of universities apply the Bologna system to the education based on credits. Still need to have resource building.
Journalism education, what has been done to improve that sphere? 2009-BBC World Service Trust started to implement the CoE project at Baku Slavic University. “Supporting the Development of Journalism Teaching in Azerbaijan” project lasted almost two years. Here are some of the achievements in the frame of this project:
Main curriculum was changed, redesigned, it became new media based.
New Media lab and Photo lab were opened. There almost 10 photo cameras in the Photo lab and 13 iMac computers in the New Media lab. Students work with Final Cut Pro, iMovie, iPhoto, Adobe Premier and Audition software programs.
Baku Slavic University now has 20 modules on different subjects. There started New Media and Photojournalism classes for the first time in Azerbaijan.
New Media lab of Baku Slavic University
Sources: Media Rights Institute’s annual reports Some of the photos are from www.sharg.org, www.deyerler.az Azerbaijan Press Council.
Teshekkur edirem! Thank you! Sabina Jafarova (Vagifgizi), co-founder and co-editor-in chief of the Baku Post website Email: email@example.com Mob: +1253 38119667 (U.S.A) +99455 8195187 (Azerbaijan) Blog:http://sainavaqif.wordpress.com Website: www.bakupost.org Twitter:@sabinuss Facebook: Sabina Vagifgizi