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Старый 08.11.2009, 23:45   #712
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NEW YORK. November 7, 2009. The employees of Azerbaijani Mission to UN attempted removing flyers demanding release of the imprisoned bloggers Adnan Hajizadeh and Emin Milli at the conference honoring the 90th anniversary of Azerbaijani Diplomatic Service held at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute in New York on November 5th.

Confronted by representatives of pro-democracy and human rights organizations asking why they try to “suppress freedom of information even in the U.S.”, the Azerbaijani government’s employees retorted by saying “you can not distribute any information you want at any event”. In spite of the protests, they continued removing flyers and refused to provide their names when asked to identify themselves.

The issue of the arrested bloggers and the continuously worsening record of Azerbaijan on freedoms and human rights, cited in reports by all major international organizations dealing with these problems, were also raised during the question and answer session by a representative of Azerbaijani-Americans for Democracy (AZAD). Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov responded by calling to look “behind those reports” and in the “overall context” of the situation, and said that those problems take long time to solve in a “natural process”.

During the interview given to RFE/RL after the conference, in response to a question on the latest OSCE report critical of treatment of journalists in Azerbaijan, Araz Azimov said that the arrests of journalists are “part of life” as it takes a long process of “education” for the journalists and the society as a whole on taking their professional duties responsibly.

Azimov and Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich, representing Harriman Institute, both were asked questions on the closure of local airwaves to western radio stations in Azerbaijan. Azimov said that it is a common international practice not to allow foreign media programs to broadcast on local frequencies, while Setanovich responded by saying that some governments are “tempted” to restrict free flow of information, but fortunately in the current age these restrictive measure do not work and always fail
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