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EU Parliament Criticizes Azerbaijan On Media Curbs

Vytautas Landsbergis

Vytautas Landsbergis

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution critical of what it calls the deterioration of media freedom in Azerbaijan.

The vote, by a show of hands, followed a parliamentary debate on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

The resolution, put forward by the European Parliament members (MEP) including former Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, criticized the jailing of opposition journalists such as newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev and called for their immediate release.

It also called for the release of two bloggers, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, who were jailed last month for hooliganism on what MEPs said appeared to have been politically motivated charges.

"The widespread practice of harassment, prosecution, and conviction of opposition journalists [in Azerbaijan] is alarming," Tunne Kelam, an Estonian MEP, told the session. "We call on Azerbaijani authorities to release the journalists in jail without further delay. This concerns also two young bloggers."

The resolution also urged authorities to renew FM radio licenses of a number of international broadcasters such as RFE/RL and the BBC World Service.