BAKU: Media chief urges BBC to end “anti-Azerbaijani” propaganda

Text of Farah report by Azerbaijani newspaper Yeni Musavat on 3 June headlined “The behaviour of the BBC employees runs counter to the rules of journalism” and subheaded “‘Azar Hasrat: ‘Let them engage in impartial journalism, not in anti-Azerbaijani propaganda'”

The recent lopsided stance of the BBC Russian Service on Azerbaijan has caused discontent by numerous organizations. The Confederation of Azerbaijani Journalists [CAJ] reacted to the issue yesterday.

A statement issued by the CAJ secretary-general, Azar Hasrat, described the activities of the BBC radio employees as a violation of the rules of journalism. Hasrat, who does not agree with the position of the radio’s Russian service on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, said that the journalists should take an equal approach to the conflicting parties irrespective of their language and religion. He thinks that no-one should act as a propagandist, abusing their position as a journalist.

“As we can see, journalists [names omitted] visit the Azerbaijani lands under Armenian occupation without the permission of the Azerbaijani state. In addition, they are preparing pro-Armenian reports from there. Being a journalist does not mean that one can enter the territory of a certain country without permission. The abovementioned BBC journalists and some other mass media representatives actually show disrespect for international and national rules by visiting the Azerbaijani territories under Armenian occupation without permission. Such illegal behaviour by journalists from Western countries makes an unpleasant impression on their Azerbaijani counterparts when they try to learn Western journalism,” he said.

To recap, the CAJ which unites the country’s 13 journalist organizations have always evaluated the developments only from the viewpoint of impartial journalism and refrains from any actions that damage the solidarity of journalists.

“This does not mean that we are going to keep silent just because those who groundlessly propagate against our state and nation are journalists. We have the right to demand that journalists respect our state’s laws and borders just like we demand that the government respect the rights of journalists. Sticking to this position, we call on the BBC journalists and management to engage not in anti-Azerbaijani propaganda, but in impartial journalism. Moreover, we wish the Azerbaijani journalists working for the BBC to express their civic position,” he said.

Yeni Musavat, Baku 03 Jun 2004


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