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Azerbaijan's Proposed NGO Media Curbs Draw Fire

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
Rights groups in Azerbaijan are warning that proposed restrictions on civil society will further curb democratic freedoms in the former Soviet republic.

Critics say draft amendments, due before parliament on June 30, reflect an increasingly authoritarian style by President Ilham Aliyev whose country is a supplier of oil and gas to the West in the strategically important South Caucasus.

The proposals include banning nongovernmental organisations from receiving more than 50 percent funding from abroad, require NGOs to register with the state, and prohibit activities of foreign NGOs unless based on a "relevant international agreement." A newspaper or other publication found to have published a "biased article" three times within two years risks closure.

Read more about the amendments here.

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