The proposed new law “on Media” has finally been announced in Azerbaijan. The bill suggests bans and new requirements, as expected by independent journalists and experts. We present you some of them:
- There must be no open calls to forcefully change the constitutional structure of Azerbaijan, challenge its territorial integrity, forcefully capture its government, and hold riots;
- There must be no disrespect towards state attributes of Azerbaijan;
- State language norms must be met;
- No discrimination must be promoted on the basis of race, religion, gender, ethnicity and other kinds. Besides, there must be no open calls to foster hostility based on race or religion;
- There must be no promotion of terrorism, religious extremism, coercion by force and cruelty. Information serving the purpose of funding terrorism, organizing and holding training for terror acts must not be spread. There must be no open calls to terrorism;
- Words, phrases and gestures implying meanings out of touch with morality must not be used;
- Human dignity must not be attacked and there must be no defamation.
- Information related to family or personal secrecy must not be publicized.
- Libel, insult and hate speech must not be allowed.
- Acts in opposition to the protection of health and environment must not be promoted.
- Facts and events must be interpreted fairly and impartially, and one-sidedness must not be allowed.
- Parapsychology, superstition and other practices of illiteracy must not be promoted.
- Publication and spread of pornographic materials must not be allowed.
- Publication of information establishing that someone is guilty without respective court order must not be allowed.
- Requirements established by the law on “Protection of Children from Harmful Information” must be met.
Another rule of the bill establishes which information media outlets and journalists can publicize.
What kind of information cannot be spread:
- The information shared by a person on the condition of secrecy;
- Disclosing one’s identity who shares the information on condition of anonymity;
- Information related to police or prosecution investigation without the permission of police chief or prosecutor who leads the investigation or the court;
- Copies of materials of criminal cases which are considered classified information;
- Information about identity of underage individuals, who are suspect, accused or victim, without permission of them and their lawful representatives;
- Information prohibited to be spread according to the law on “Fight against Religious Extremism”;
Journalists or editors cannot be forced into disclosing sources of information except for the cases established by law regarding police investigation or court trials.