OSCE representative concerned over blocking of news websites in Azerbaijan

Expression

During the first week of August, it was reported that a court in Baku issued a decision to block news websites: az24saat.org, xural.com, arqument.az and monitortv.info. The proceedings against the outlets were initiated by the Ministry for Transportation, Communications and New Technologies who claimed that certain articles published on the platforms "contain defamatory statements". The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media said: 

“Blocking websites is an extreme measure which may stifle critical voices, particularly when instigated by highly problematic defamation claims. It impedes on the public’s right to access information and negatively impacts media pluralism and free expression.”

Association

On 27th June 2018 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a resolution condemning "the reprisals against civil society activists" that have continued in the country and called on the government to amend legislation in order to comply with European Court of Human Rights standards.  

Peaceful Assembly

On 10th July 2018, during a protest in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second biggest city, two police officers were killed after being wounded with 'sharp objects" reportedly carried by protesters. Reports indicate that around 200 people had gathered to protest against local mayor Elmar Valiyev. However, according to OC-Media, "there was a lack of information about who the organisers were or what were their demands". Valiyev, survived an assassination attempt the week before.