The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety issued Azerbaijan freedom of expression report

Azerbaijan’s Critical Voices in Danger report documents findings and outlines freedom of expression violations for the first half of 2012. The report provides insight into how the government continues to punish and prosecute individuals for expressing their opinions and protesting ongoing repression.

According to the report, the first half of 2012 was the period of the increasingly hostile political climate to the activity of mass media outlets and civil society stakeholders in Azerbaijan. In the past few months, dozens of journalists have been subjected to provocations, blackmailing, prosecutions, moral and physical pressure and litigations, and several media representatives have been arrested. During the reporting period the eight media representatives have been thrown to jail under various charges widely agreed by both local and international bodies to be trumped-up.

IRFS is a local Azerbaijani NGO founded on World Press Freedom Day in 2006 by two Azerbaijani journalists, in response to growing government restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of press. The organization’s reporting has been instrumental in bringing the issues of press freedom in Azerbaijan to the attention of relevant organizations and officials in the US and Europe. IRFS monitors and reports on violations of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, producing statements, appeals, analyses, and daily news reports, conducting press conferences, and raising awareness of journalists’ rights locally and internationally. As part of this commitment IRFS has been regularly producing comprehensive reports on the state of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.