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In Azerbaijan People can be Imprisoned for Insulting President on Internet

Washington Post

In Azerbaijan, the attempt to defame or humiliate the honor and dignity of the head of state - the president in the information space of the Internet will lead to criminal liability.

According to APA, the prosecutor general of Azerbaijan Zakir Garalov has sent a proposal to the parliament in connection with the introduction of amendments to Article 323.1 of the Criminal Code (insult or humiliation of honor and dignity of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic in public statement, publicly shown product or mass media).

According to the project, in this article the phrase "or media" is replaced by the words "in the media or in case of public dissemination of information Internet resources."

These actions are punishable by a fine or correctional labor up to two years, or even imprisonment for a period of 2 years.

Azerbaijan has a long tradition of non-tolerance for critical media and criticism in general, but repression has greatly intensified in the recent years. According to the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists Joel Simon, Azerbaijan became the largest prison of journalists in Europe.

Just in the presence of all these, Ilham Aliyev announces that there is absolutely no problem with democracy in Azerbaijan. The President assured that people are free to express themselves and there is no problem with the freedom of speech.

Of course, the Azerbaijani authorities have always stated that the country has no such problems, and freedom of press is totally provided, but it is enough to recall the arrest of a number of journalists the cases of which have received international publicity (Khadija Ismailova, Rauf Mirkadyrov).

It should be noted that in the global index of press freedom organization "Reporters without Borders" Azerbaijan ranks 163 out of 178 countries. And according to the rating of freedom of the press Freedom House in 2015 year, Azerbaijan ranks 189 among 199 countries.

It is also noteworthy that under all these circumstances, the Azerbaijani authorities are tightening an already fairly strict censorship in the country. In the nearest future Azerbaijan plans to amend the "Martial Law" and allow military censorship. Military censorship is a preliminary approval of reports and materials of media by the military authorities and government bodies and officials, as well as monitoring of correspondence, television and radio broadcasting, telephone and radio conversations in order to prevent the dissemination of information containing state secrets.

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