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Internet Censorship in Azerbaijan

Bloggers make a donkey of the state


Ministry of Transport, Communications, High Technologies and Censorship...

Azerbaijan starts blocking porn websites

Link Here18th August 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Azerbaijan...Bloggers make a donkey of the state
Azerbaijan's government has begun to block internet pornography sites. While this is far from the first time the country has tried to control what websites its citizens access, it does appear to be the first time it's restricting pornography.

The blocking was carried out by the Electronic Security Service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. The move was reportedly made due to a local court decision, but no further details were released.

In December last year, Azerbaijan's parliament adopted a new set of laws penalizing the online dissemination of banned materials. The legislation referred to a list of prohibited information that was first put into use by Azerbaijani courts in May 2017 authorizing the government to censor online information including terrorist propaganda, suicide videos, pornography and weapons-production manuals, but also gambling and defamation.

It's not clear why the ban on pornography was implemented, but it has generated some speculation online. Journalist Habib Muntazir of Meydan TV noted that on August 15, a Facebook parody page, Politicians of ayxana, photoshopped the logo of the pornographic website Pornhub onto a picture of President Ilham Aliyev reprimanding the head of the state energy company for the country's recent blackouts. The caption read: Boss punishes sexy secretary.


12th September

Update: Deteriorating Freedom...

Human rights organisations pan Azerbaijan

Ten international NGOs, among them Freedom House, Article 19, Index on Censorship, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, International Federation of Journalists, Media Diversity Institute, Press Now, Open Society Foundations, Reporters without borders, and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, adopted on September 9 a joint statement following their three-day mission to Azerbaijan.

The mission aimed to meet journalists, human rights defenders, government officials and other civil society activists on critical freedom of expression issues in advance of the country's parliamentary elections planned in November.

Representatives from the organizations highlighted their serious concerns regarding the deteriorating freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan, including the continued imprisonment of journalists and bloggers, acts of violence and ill-treatment against journalists.

The international human rights mission called for Azerbaijan's authorities:

  • to free immediately the three jailed journalists and never practice such kind of arrests in future
  • to launch an immediate investigation into the cases of suppressing and hunting media
  • to decriminalize defamation
  • to spread honestly and fairly the state advertisement
  • to establish a commission supporting media
  • to establish an independent body to regulate broadcasting-related issues
  • to lift up the ban on foreign radio stations
  • to invest in the Internet and improve the access to Internet
  • to provide candidates with the same access to the on-line media during the election campaigns, and etc.


14th November

Update: Azerbaijan Donkeys...

Azerbaijan authorities jail bloggers who made donkeys of them

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's prison sentences given to two video bloggers detained in July on fabricated charges of hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm.

Judge Araz Huseynov with the Sabail District Court in Baku handed Emin Milli who runs an online video blog known as ANTV, a two and a half year jail term, and Adnan Hajizade, a video blogger and coordinator of the Azerbaijani youth movement Ol!, a two-year prison sentence for allegedly harming two men in a restaurant, according to international press reports.

Milli and Hajizade had posted political and socially satirical video sketches that criticized government policies and social issues in the weeks prior to their initial arrest in July. They had interviewed local residents and posted their opinions online, sharing them through networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Among the issues discussed on their blogs were education, corruption, and the poor infrastructure in Azerbaijan.

Baku police detained Milli and Hajizade on July 8, after the bloggers reported that they had been physically attacked at a local restaurant. Milli and Hajizade were debating politics with friends when two unknown men interrupted their conversation and started a brawl, they said. When the bloggers went to report the incident, they were arrested for hooliganism ; it turned out, the men who had attacked them had told the police that they had been the victims. The bloggers had been in custody since their initial detention. A second charge, inflicting minor bodily harm, was added later on.

Both domestic and international rights groups have condemned the arrest of Milli and Hajizade as staged by authorities in retaliation for their blogs' critical content. In a number of entries, the two interviewed local residents and filmed street gatherings in protest of official policies. According to multiple sources, a satirical video the bloggers produced and posted on YouTube in late June was the main reason for their incarceration. The video criticized Azerbaijan's alleged import of donkeys from abroad at excessively high prices. The video sketch depicts a pseudo press conference, at which Hajizade, wearing a donkey suit, talks to a group of Azerbaijani journalists ; Milli reportedly filmed.

We call on Azerbaijani authorities to scrap these fictitious charges against Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade and release them, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. Police entrapment such as provoking a fight has become a tool for silencing critical journalists and writers in Azerbaijan.

Commenting on the guilty verdict today, Judge Araz Huseynov said it was based on police reports and the alleged injuries of the two plaintiffs, Emin Huseynov, the director of the Baku-based Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, whose representatives were monitoring the trial, told CPJ. Huseynov added that the judge had ignored witness testimony by restaurant patrons who said they saw the two men attack the bloggers and not vice versa.

Update: Acquitted

25th August 2010. Based on article from

ARTICLE 19 is deeply concerned by the Azerbaijani Supreme Court's decision to uphold rulings in the case of bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. ARTICLE 19 believes that Milli and Hajizade, who are imprisoned on charges of hooliganism, were targeted for expressing opinions critical of the Azerbaijani authorities.

On 19 August, the Azerbaijani Supreme Court considered the case of imprisoned bloggers and youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. In its decision, the Court upheld the lower courts' rulings, which convicted Milli and Hajizade of hooliganism and sentenced them to two and a half years and two years of imprisonment respectively.

Milli and Hajizade's lawyers plan to apply to the European Court of Human Rights now that the domestic appeals process has been exhausted. The OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media and the Council of Europe High Commissioner for Human Rights have both expressed concern regarding Milli and Hajizade's imprisonment, noting that the move seemed to be an attempt by the Azerbaijani authorities to silence critical voices.


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