Vienna, 1 October 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed condemnation after freelance journalist Islam Shikhali was attacked and beaten by members of the police while covering an event in the city of Lankaran, Azerbaijan.
On 30 September, Shikhali was held by police forces for an hour. During that time, he was beaten and his equipment was examined. The journalist stated that after this, the police took him back to the capital Baku overnight. The Lankaran police department later negated claims that he had been held there illegally for an hour or that he was sent back to the capital.
SEEMO sees such attacks on journalists and censorship attempts as a clear signal that media freedom and human rights in Azerbaijan have reached a new low, and that mediation between media workers and state institutions is necessary. It is unacceptable for authorities and institutions belonging to the government to attack, interrogate and intimidate journalists simply because they are doing their job.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.