Accessibility links

New Azeri Media Law Changes Await President's Signature

Rashid Hajili

Rashid Hajili

A set of controversial amendments to Azerbaijan's media law have been passed by the parliament and sent to President Ilham Aliyev's office for final approval, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The proposed law allows for a media outlet to be suspended in case of "abuse of power." Among other things, the bill classifies the use of an anonymous source as an "abuse of power."

Rashid Hajili, the head of Baku's Media Law Institute, said that once the amendments become law, it will be very easy to shut down any newspaper or magazine for two months.

The law also restricts foreigners and anyone without a higher education from starting a publication.

Parliamentarian Aydin Mirzazade, who is from the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan (New Azerbaijan) party, favors the educational restrictions but agrees that the "two-month suspension is too harsh" of a punishment.

Parliament approved the amendments on March 6.