[Update] Dia.az website was reportedly blocked inside the country following the court decision on November 15. The Media Development Agency filed the case with the court on November 10 [see the following update below]. The site’s manager considers the court’s decision unlawful. Zamanov told Meydan TV he will be appealing the decision. In an interview with Meydan TV, media expert Khalid Aghayev said, the court’s decision was baseless, adding, “It should not be possible to stop the work of a media outlet so easily. This is a clear violation of media freedom law.”
[Update] The media development agency takes the first media platform – Dia.az – to court. The reason, claims the agency, is that Dia.az failed to apply for registration with the agency. The site’s manager, Mahammad Zamanov, said Dia.az no longer operated as a media platform. The court case was filed on November 10, according to the reporting by an independent Meydan TV.
The most recent online platform to join the list of rejected news platforms by the state media registry is Gündəm Xəbər. According to Meydan TV, the website’s admins were informed on September 25, that their application was rejected on the grounds the website failed to meet the requirement of publishing at least 20 articles per day as per Article 60.5 of the new law on Media adopted by the parliament in 2021, and approved by the president Ilham Aliyev in February 2022.
At the time of its adoption, the new law was heavily criticized by local and international rights organizations who made repeated calls on the government to refrain from adopting the New Media Law given its restrictive nature. Critics of the draft law worried the new legal document would seriously threaten media freedom, including online media resources, as it contains provisions granting a discretionary power to the state, to regulate media excessively, especially online media, as well as introduce further restrictions on journalists’ work, media companies, and relevant entities. Critics were also vocal about the absence of a broad and meaningful public consultation of the law prior to its adoption.
According to the law on media, all online media outlets as well as journalists working for online media platforms or working as freelance journalists were ought to register with a new media registry system. This media registry system began to operate on October 14, 2022.
*For further reading read AIW’s legal overview and the implications of the new law here.