Baku, May 31, AZERTAC
A roundtable discussion on the joint media project of the European Union and the Council of Europe on "Freedom of expression and freedom of media" has kicked off in Baku today.
"Provision of freedom of thought, speech and press in Azerbaijan has always been in the focus of attention of the state. We can confidently say that Azerbaijan's media palette has been fully formed", addressing the conference, assistant to the Azerbaijani President for Public and Political Affairs, Head of the Department for Socio-Political Affairs of the Presidential Administration, Ali Hasanov said.
A. Hasanov stated that a large number of media outlets freely operate in the country: 'Because it is very easy to open press agency in Azerbaijan. Only implementation of necessary works is required. Azerbaijan closely co-operates with the OSCE and Council of Europe to develop democracy ' in the country”.
Delivering a speech at the event, Ali Hasanov said that after Azerbaijan gained its state independence, ensuring the freedom of expression and media, creation of independent media outlets has always been in the limelight of the state as one of the main directions of creating a civil society and democratization process.
He stated that broad public debates were organized regarding draft law 'On defamation'.
The Presidential Aide said that Azerbaijan's 1995 Constitution reflects the relevant norms, adding that the censorship was abolished in the country still in 1998 in accordance with the decree of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev.
Hasanov pointed out that the legislative framework was improved and brought in line with the international standards in order to ensure the freedom of media.
He said that today, more than 50 television and radio stations, hundreds of newspapers, magazines, news agencies, e-resources, media organizations and broadcasting centers are operating in the country.
"Azerbaijan's law ensures everyone's right to freely search, receive and spread information," the top official added.
The conference, organized in the framework of a joint Eu/Council of Europe (CoE) project, in cooperation with the Azerbaijani Press Council, is to provide a platform for open discussions on how to improve national legislation concerning defamation and journalistic practice in the country.
The round-table discussion takes place within the framework of the joint EU/CoE project on freedom of expression and media freedom in Azerbaijan implemented by EU/CoE Programmatic Cooperation Framework.