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Azerbaijan: International freedom of expression coalition launches website ahead of Eurovision

Tuesday 22 May 2012 - 1:00am

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (the IPGA), of which PEN International is member, has launched its website, Twitter and Facebook profiles on the upcoming 57th Eurovision Song Contest which will begin tomorrow 22 May in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The IPGA website explores the unsettling situation of freedom of expression in the country where journalists and others have been subject of blackmailing, violence, intimidation and even imprisonment for expressing their critical views. "With seven journalists behind bars, Azerbaijan is among the top 10 global jailers of the press”, said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova.

As the Azerbaijani authorities work hard to improve the image of the country abroad ahead of the Eurovision contest, several restrictions to freedom of expression and other fundamental rights remain in place.

“The broadcast media is completely dominated by the state, leaving no room for independent voices. The organiser of Eurovision, the European Broadcasting Union, must end its policy of silence and hold the Azerbaijani authorities accountable for their freedom of expression violations” said ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, Agnès Callamard.

The IPGA is comprised of 15 international organisations that promote and defend freedom of information and expression in Azerbaijan. It was founded in 2010 under the auspices of the international media partnerships organised by the Open Society Foundations and International Media Support.

For a full press release from Article 19, IPGA coordinator click here