On February 3, the local court fined Azermedia, the founder of the online news platform yeniavaz.az in the total amount of 1500AZN (approximately 880USD). The prosecutor cited the failure of the website management to remove comments posted on the website’s Facebook page according to Azerbaijan service for Radio Liberty.
In court, the prosecutor’s office representative said the website management carried the responsibility to remove comments on its social media accounts that are slanderous and insulting. But the lawyer, Nemat Karimli repeated that Azermedia did not violate any rules and that claims by the prosecutor’s office about responsibility to remove comments on social media platforms were baseless.
Following the court’s decision, Karimli said they will be appealing the decision.
The court decision follows the weeks-long process between the prosecutor’s office and the yeniavaz.az and concerns a series of articles the website published starting January 12. The published articles cover the case of political activist Tofig Yagublu who was detained during a rally in December, beaten, and then let go. The investigation concluded that Yagublu beat himself and that the police had no involvement in the physical injuries caused to the activist.
The website was fined based on Article 318.104.22.168 of the Code of Administrative Offenses:
for failure to take measures established by the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On information, informatization and protection of information” in connection with the seizure of information prohibited for dissemination placed on the Internet information resources –
individuals shall be fined in the amount of 500 to 1000 manats, officials in the amount of 1000 to 1000 manats, or administrative detention for a period of up to one month shall be imposed on legal entities, depending on the circumstances of the case, legal entities shall be fined in the amount of 1500 to 2000 manats. is done.