AZERBAIJAN: SEEMO deplores Azerbaijan’s decision to prosecute French journalists

AZERBAIJAN, AZERBAIJAN, 05/09/2017, 06:50

Vienna, 5 September 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep concern after learning that the government of Azerbaijan is pressing charges against two French journalists on the grounds of defamation after they called the country a “dictatorship”.

Investigative journalist and TV host Elise Lucet (Élise Lucet) and journalist film-maker Laurent Richard are set to appear in a Paris court in the suburb of Nanterre today, 5 September. Elise Lucet called Azerbaijan “one of the world’s harshest dictatorships” in a program broadcast on the France 2 television network in September 2015, while Laurent Richard referred to the state as a dictatorship during a radio interview with France Info, following his May 2014 arrest during a reporting trip in Baku.

At the time, both journalists were working on a program for France 2 TV called Cash Investigation about the background of the official visit made by then-president Francois Hollande (François Hollande) to the former Soviet republic in 2014.

“SEEMO urges authorities in France to cease any further persecution of these journalists” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General said today.  “It is utterly unacceptable for a country that seemingly protects and respects freedom of speech to comply with the demands of another country who has done something as deplorable as filing charges of defamation against individuals as a government. We ask authorities in Azerbaijan to revoke these charges and allow both local and international journalists to work and speak freely, which is their right. No attempts of imposing sanctions, legislative intimidation or censorship to free speech can be tolerated” Vujovic added.

SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central EuropeVienna, 5 September 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep concern after learning that the government of Azerbaijan is pressing charges against two French journalists on the grounds of defamation after they called the country a “dictatorship”.

Investigative journalist and TV host Elise Lucet (Élise Lucet) and journalist film-maker Laurent Richard are set to appear in a Paris court in the suburb of Nanterre today, 5 September. Elise Lucet called Azerbaijan “one of the world’s harshest dictatorships” in a program broadcast on the France 2 television network in September 2015, while Laurent Richard referred to the state as a dictatorship during a radio interview with France Info, following his May 2014 arrest during a reporting trip in Baku.

At the time, both journalists were working on a program for France 2 TV called Cash Investigation about the background of the official visit made by then-president Francois Hollande (François Hollande) to the former Soviet republic in 2014.

“SEEMO urges authorities in France to cease any further persecution of these journalists” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General said today.  “It is utterly unacceptable for a country that seemingly protects and respects freedom of speech to comply with the demands of another country who has done something as deplorable as filing charges of defamation against individuals as a government. We ask authorities in Azerbaijan to revoke these charges and allow both local and international journalists to work and speak freely, which is their right. No attempts of imposing sanctions, legislative intimidation or censorship to free speech can be tolerated” Vujovic added.

SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe

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