11 Nov

Azerbaijan enjoys internet freedom, president says

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Azerbaijan enjoys internet freedom, president says
BBC Monitoring International Reports – Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Excerpt from report by private Azerbaijani news agency Turan

6 November: President Ilham Aliyev has welcomed the participants in the Seventh Annual Internet Governance Forum under way in Baku [where the statement was apparently read out]. The forum has been organized by the UN and the Azerbaijani government.

[Passage omitted: General comments on the internet contained in Aliyev’s welcoming address]

Aliyev believes that Azerbaijan pays special attention to development of information and communications technologies and the internet . About 65 per cent of the country’s population have internet access, and the country has already started to use the latest technology – 4G.

Aliyev believes that there is internet freedom in Azerbaijan . Thus, online radio and online TV, electronic newspapers and magazines, and foreign and domestic social networking websites are widespread in Azerbaijan . Thousands of bloggers act freely on the internet in Azerbaijan .

In conclusion, Aliyev expresses support for any well-intentioned online activities that aim to build friendly ties between people and nations and to form equal relations based on mutual respect.

[Passage omitted: Turan news agency quotes unnamed international organizations as criticizing the situation with online freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and as saying that despite the lack of a practice of filtering and blocking websites in this country, some online dissidents are still persecuted.]

[BBCM note: On 6 November, APA news agency quoted Azerbaijani Communications and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov as saying in a speech at the forum that there is a need for joint fight to ensure online security and prevent cyber crime. The report also quoted Abbasov as saying that use of social networking websites is widespread in Azerbaijan and these activities are not controlled by any agency. “Online TV, newspapers and websites have been developing in this country in the past few years, and no interference or pressure is applied to their activities.”

In a separate report on 6 November, Turan quoted Ali Hasanov, chief of the public and political department of the Presidential Administration, as telling journalists on the sidelines of the forum that no blogger is persecuted or is in jail in this country. “They [blogggers] can express their thoughts very freely, which is evidence to the freedom of the internet in the country,” he said.]
Original Language: Russian
Section: Azerbaijan , Armenia and Georgia
Original Source: Turan news agency, Baku
Record Number: 14269435839FD370
Sources: Turan news agency, Baku, in Russian 0739 gmt 6 Nov 12; APA news agency, Baku, in Azeri 1018 gmt 6 Nov 12; Turan news agency, Baku, in Russian 0959 gmt 6 Nov 12/