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RFE/RL Applauds European Rights Court Ruling in Favor of RFE/RL Against Azerbaijani Government

Screenshot of the blocking of Azadliq's website.
Screenshot of the blocking of Azadliq’s website.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) welcomes today’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the government of Azerbaijan’s 2017 decision to block access to RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service website, Azadliq, was a violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

RFE/RL President & CEO Stephen Capus said:

“We welcome today’s recognition by the European Court of Human Rights that the Azerbaijani government’s blockage of the Azadliq website violates the fundamental rights of citizens to access information.

While the website has been blocked since 2017, Baku’s crackdown against RFE/RL’s independent journalism is a longstanding problem. In 2009, the government banned broadcasting on FM frequencies and, in 2014, they raided our bureau and shut it down.

Yet, using circumvention tools, Azadliq continues its investigative reporting on public corruption, political prisoners, and electoral fraud. The people of Azerbaijan, like people everywhere, deserve access to independent information free from government propaganda. We will persist in this mission and continue to press Baku to allow us to operate freely in Azerbaijan.”

RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service was blocked in 2017 after it published investigative reports about financial activities linked to members of President Ilham Aliyev’s family and his inner circle.

The reports were produced by RFE/RL in cooperation with the Sarajevo-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

RFE/RL condemned the ruling at the time, accusing the government of “another blatant attempt to silence our reporting in Azerbaijan.”

Reporters Without Borders ranks Azerbaijan 164th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

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About RFE/RL 

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.