TODAY.AZ / Politics

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to US makes clarifications about his statements voiced during hearings on Azerbaijan in the Helsinki Commission

31 July 2008 [12:34] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az news agency has received a letter of Azerbaijan ambassador to US Yashar Aliyev in which he made clarifications about some moments of hearings on Azerbaijan in the Helsinki Commission of the US congress.
The letter reads:

"Dear editorial staff,

Due to numerous comments in Azerbaijani mass media, regarding hearings on Azerbaijan in the US Helsinki Commission, held on July 29, I would like to help dear readers to clarify some moments of these hearings.

Thus, some mass medias refer to my statement regarding defamation. I suppose the main source of information on this hearings became the internet article of Radio Azadliq correspondent Gorkhmaz Askerov of July 29 in Azerbaijani language, which Day,Az referred to quoting on the statements of the Azerbaijani ambassador to the United States, who is said to announce that "due to specific national thought in Azerbaijan, legalization of libel can cause complex reaction in the society, but government takes steps in this direction". Considering the said text, various interpretations were made.

Unfortunately, my statements were, in fact, distorted.

In my response to the question of Hilda Solis, congressman-democrat from California, about legalization of defamation I drew attention of the Helsinki commission members to the following facts:

• Some of the things seen in the tabloid journalism of other countries is deeply offensive to the Azerbaijani sensibility and to the social code of conduct;

• The notion of granting anyone carte blanche immunity for the things they distribute or disseminate in public, especially when it is not based on fact, is simply a new concept for much in Azerbaijan;

• the fact that the libel and defamation should be repealed or deleted from Azerbaijani criminal code is a very new topic for our republic;

• this topic is under very extensive and intensive discussion on the part of the government officials, on the part of the scientists, the lawyers, and simply the citizens of Azerbaijan;

• great attention is paid to this issue by officials, at the same time soonest settlement is not possible; it remains on the agenda and is being discussed with the Council of Europe and OSCE.

I attach an extract from the stenographic report (the full report is available on the website of the Helsinki commission http://csce.gov.)

UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (HELSINKI COMMISSION) HOLDS HEARING: HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIZATION IN AZERBAIJAN JULY 29, 2008

ALIYEV: Yes, I am going to the point now. So criminal code of Azerbaijan, now we have to speak about the defamation and libel. So each country has its own traditions and each country has its own values. So my country is a relatively young country as a democracy, but it has deep traditions that are ingrained in society. Some of the things seen in the tabloid journalism of other countries is deeply offensive to the Azerbaijani sensibility and to the social code of conduct. The notion of granting anyone carte blanche immunity for the things they distribute or disseminate in public, especially when it is not based on fact, is simply a new concept for much in Azerbaijan. So what I would like to say is, the fact that, you know, the libel and defamation should be repealed or deleted from Azerbaijani criminal code is a very new topic for our republic. This topic is under very extensive and intensive, you know, discussion on the part of the government officials, on the part of the scientists, the lawyers, and simply the citizens of Azerbaijan.

SOLIS: Is there any — can you give us any information as to whether there will be an attempt to constructively look a changing the code? That is what I am asking you.

ALIYEV: I understand your point, ma'am. I can assure you that we are giving very serious attention and consideration to this matter. I cannot vouch that it will be solved with a couple of days or within a couple of months, but this item is in our agenda, and we are discussing this matter with the Council of Europe and OSCE."

Do not hesitate to address for any comments or clarifications both on this moment and on the overall hearings.

Please, be so kind as to post this letter on your website.

Respectfully,

Yashar Aliyev,

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States"

/
Day.Az/
URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/46766.html

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