17 Dec

This Week in Absurdistan.az…

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Lots of attacks on the Freedom House report

Azerbaijani Council of State Support to NGOs disagrees with report of Freedom House
Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Monday, December 17, 2012
The Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan objected to the inclusion of Azerbaijan into the list of “non-free” countries by the Freedom House. The Council issued a statement saying that the Freedom House has once more demonstrated its commitment to double games of the Western circles: “Including Armenia, which is used as an instrument of aggression against regional states by some forces of the world, into the list of “partly free” countries the Freedom House demonstrates its purposes clearly.

The report covering absurd ideas on the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, restriction of the use of Internet , arrest of bloggers, intolerance of the situation in prisons and tortures against prisoners in Azerbaijan made by the organization trying to create a negative image of our country in the world does not differ from the accusations of some pro-Armenian deputies having hostile approach to Azerbaijan . They continue to stand for their political and economic interests rather than human rights in Azerbaijan . Otherwise, attention would have been paid to the main problem of the country, occupation of 20 per cent of territories by Armenians and more than one million refugees.


Azerbaijani top official: Freedom House report is based on subjective judgments
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Thursday, December 13, 2012
Author: E. Mehdiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Dec. 13–Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration’s Social and Political Department Ali Hasanov assessed annual report of Freedom House on the situation with human rights in the world as a report of the NGO prepared on the basis of subjective judgments.

If an independent country criterion for Freedom House is an observant position of law enforcement agencies towards attempts of a group of irresponsible persons to hold illegal protest actions in the city center and sow anarchy and chaos, while preventing such attempts brings down the country’s rating on freedom, then let the organization assess actions of the Central European countries’ law enforcement agencies against participants of such actions.

For us, preventing chaos and anarchy, attempts of those who lost the sense of responsibility, violating the internal stability, hindering normal activities of people and other illegal actions of such type is a requirement and observance of the legality. As for the impunity of “journalists” -who insult citizens, slander and are engaged in racketeering using their profession, and betray their people and the state, then it also does not coincide with the wishes of the Azerbaijani society now,” Hasanov told Trend on Thursday

Every Azerbaijani citizen regardless of his profession should realize responsibility for his actions and respect the rights and freedoms of others, Hasanov said.

“There is a balance of human rights in legal states. One person’s rights end where another person’s rights begin. This is the way we understand the balance of human rights in Azerbaijan “.

“As for opinions and views on other issues indicated in the report of the Freedom House- restriction of the freedom of journalists, threat to Internet freedom, harassment and arrest of bloggers, presence of intolerable situation in prisons, torture of prisoners and others, we believe that they are nothing more than the subjective opinions,” Hasanov said.

“These reports have been mainly based on the information of several NGOs’ reports, preparing false reports for them within the country and funded by some Westerns circles of anti-Azerbaijani nature,” he said. “They have nothing to do with Azerbaijan ‘s current situation.”

Hasanov also commented on the negative evaluation by Freedom House of some reconstruction and resettlement operations, conducted in accordance with the general project of Baku, and added that it is the same old story for Azerbaijan .

“Such accusations are based on the same lie and slander,” he said.

“Armenian lobby and some Western anti-Azerbaijani circles are involved in this campaign which started from the Eurovision Song contest,” he said.

“All reconstruction and improvement operations in Baku are conducted on the initiative of President Aliyev for the people, their well-being, the accomplishment and beauty of the city,” he said.

“This is done for expanding and reconstructing the domestic infrastructure, restoring the city’s harmony, which was broken earlier, comfortable living of hundred thousands of residents of cities and tens of thousands of residential areas, ensuring convenient movement in accordance with Baku’s general plan,” he said.

“But, unfortunately, one could not avoid resettlement of some families to other places during these operations,” Hasanov added.

“According to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s special order, the rights of people who have been resettled were fully ensured,” he said. “More suitable alternative variants and convenient housing or the relevant payments were proposed to them. These people agreed to this.”

“Of course, some people, who have been resettled, were dissatisfied because they did not want to leave the houses where they lived for many years, which is natural,” he said. “But there were few dissatisfied people as opposed to those satisfied and those who backed the future improvement of the conditions in these residential areas of Baku.”

“Tens of thousands of people have been resettled in Azerbaijan ,” he said. “Of course, one can find three — five dissatisfied people, so they would talk to the press and appear on television, which has been done.”

“How is it possible that the opinions of 3-4 individuals out of tens of thousands of displaced persons are re-published by some Western circles, Western press, and Freedom House includes this in its report? Wouldn’t it be better for them to consider the opinions of other displaced people, when preparing this kind of information? If to summarize the report of Freedom House, it does not differ from the reports prepared by a number of NGOs that they submit every year. Azerbaijan is not the only country mentioned there, as there are all post-Soviet countries included as well, in the majority of which, freedom and human rights are allegedly violated and restricted,” Hasanov said.

“The negative evaluation of the most post-Soviet countries indicates that the methodology and approach of the “Freedom House” are wrong,” he said. “The sources that it relies are making statements proceeding from their subjective positions. Most of these sources are NGOs funded by targeted funds and interested in forming a negative image of Azerbaijan .”

Prisoners to Skype? WHAT?

BRIEF: Prisoners in Azerbaijan may be able to use Skype to communicate with families
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Monday, December 10, 2012
Author: K. Zarbaliyeva, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Dec. 10–There is a possibility that in Azerbaijani prisons, communication between prisoners and their families through the Internet program Skype may soon be coming, but it is currently forbidden by law and accordingly can’t be used, head of the Prison Service Madat Guliyev told journalists.

He added that if legislation is amended, then there will be conditions allowing the use of Skype by prisoners.

Touching upon the smuggling of prohibited items into prisons, Guliyev said that 11 mobile phones were found today during an inspection of prison No. 2.

He added that unfortunately, in such cases, it is often found that relatives of the prisoner are involved.

And looks like Azerbaijan’s gonna get some fat pipe, but this remains to be seen

TAE fiber-optic line to be transferred to reserve for stability of Azerbaijani sector of Internet
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Thursday, December 13, 2012
Author: H. Veliyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Dec. 13–Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable backbone will be used as a reserve channel to stabilize the AzNET segment, a source close to the project told Trend on Wednesday.

It is facilitated by the upcoming plans of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan to implement a large-scale project for the development of broadband Internet in Azerbaijan in 2013, the main component of which is the expansion of broadband Internet coverage of rural areas, where the optical infrastructure is still underdeveloped.

“Laid optic lines of FO-20 standard have the potential not to cope with the greater bandwidth. Therefore, all the lines need to be replaced by cables of FO-48 standard. Regarding TAE, this project used cables of FO-12, FO -16, FO-20 and FO-24 standards. Therefore, the implementation of the project of development of broadband Internet contributes to the fact that TAE, used as a key line, will be transferred to the reserve,” the source said.

Today, over 35 percent of the villages of the country are covered by the optical links. Production Association Aztelekom Azerbaijan laid about two thousand kilometers of fiber-optic communication lines in the regions. Over 500 kilometers of cable were laid by the efforts of commercial providers.

Interfax: Investment in Azerbaijani hi-tech sector to 2020 may top $7 bln
Interfax News Agency (Moscow, Russia) – Friday, December 7, 2012
BAKU. Dec 7 (Interfax) – The government of Azerbaijan expects that investment in its hi-tech sector to 2020 could top $7 billion.

“The government will spend $3.6 billion to 2020 on the production hi-technology products and services. In addition, we expect the same amount of foreign direct investment. The European Union is one of our most reliable partners in this respect,” Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov said at a meeting with ambassadors of EU member states in Azerbaijan , a ministry press release says.

The minister told the diplomats about reforms in and the outlook for ICT. “Our main aim is to reduce to a minimum the dependence on the oil sector that the country’s economy has, and to achieve annual 20% growth in ICT in the next 10 years. Thanks to this, the volume of the ICT sector will grow four-fold by 2020,” the minister said.

To achieve the target aims the internet needs to be developed, he said. “We plan to achieve an 85% boost to broadband internet use in the next three years, while the minimum speed will be 10 megabits per second,” Abbasov said.

“The Azerbaijani government plans in the next few years to focus on an electronic government project. By 2020 around 80% of the country’s population will use electronic services,” he added.

In order to develop the ICT sector, Azerbaijan plans to increase competitiveness and ease customs and tax policy, the minister said.

BRIEF: Next phase of Azerbaijan ‘s broadband internet development to be completed by 2016
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Friday, December 7, 2012
Author: H. Valiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Dec. 07–Aztelekom production association has laid around 2,000 kilometers of fiber-optic communication lines in Azerbaijan for its broadband internet project, Aztelekom CEO Magomed Mammadov said at a press-conference on Thursday.

According to Mammadov, more than 500 kilometers of cable were laid with the assistance of commercial providers.

“At present, the work on laying optical infrastructure is carried out in almost all regions of the country. Extending optical infrastructure will increase the number of broadband internet users,” Mammadov said.

According to him, at present, the number of broadband connections in the Aztelekom network reaches 102,000, while at the beginning of this year the figure stood at about 25,000.

“Aztelekom has developed the next stage (2013-2015) of the project, during which optic fiber will be brought to the end user,” Mammadov said.

BRIEF: Azerbaijan to be fully covered by broadband Internet by 2015
Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan ) – Thursday, December 6, 2012
Author: H. Valiyev, Trend News Agency, Baku, Azerbaijan
Dec. 06–The volume of investments in the development of the Aztelekom production association’s network as of 2012 is expected to hit 25-30 million manat, Aztelekom director general Magomed Mammadov told media today.

“The volume of investments in the development of the state operator’s network has hit about 20 million manat for nine months,” he said. “Investments are made through internal funds.”

Currently, the main challenge for Aztelekom is to increase the number of broadband Internet users.

Mammadov said it is planned to allocate more than 200 million manat to implement the project of developing broadband Internet in the regions in 2013. The project will be financed by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan .

“By 2015, all the Azerbaijani territory will be covered by broadband Internet and the minimum Internet speed will be 10 Mbits / s,” he said. “Operations have been prepared to prepare the documents to develop broadband Internet .”