U.S. Representative Howard Berman has expressed concern over increasing reports of intimidation and violence toward journalists in Azerbaijan.
In a letter
to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on World Press Freedom Day, the congressman said recent "incidents have highlighted long-held concerns regarding the ability to express one's thoughts and opinions freely" in Azerbaijan.
Berman (Democrat-California) said five journalists were beaten up by security personnel of a state oil company as they were reporting on the demolition of houses that the company said were illegally built on its land.
Berman also noted that RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Khadija Ismayilova was the focus of a campaign of intimidation and coercion due to her investigative journalism.
Berman urged Baku to prosecute those responsible for the cases, and to protect journalists against future threats.