Anar Mammadli: The decision of the Azerbaijani Government about Harlem Desir is wrong and groundless

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Anar Mammadli, chairperson of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center in Azerbaijan, considers the position of the Government of Azerbaijan against the renewal of the mandate of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, as wrong, groundless and against the public interest of Azerbaijani citizens.

“Mr Desir successfully worked on the protection of the freedom of expression, journalists and free media in the OSCE region in last 3 years. Objecting to the appointment of such a person is a shameful decision for our country and the Government of Azerbaijan must end this disgraceful situation.”

Yesterday, 29 human rights organizations issued a joint statement stating their deep concerns in respect of the decision of the Azerbaijan and Tajikistan to veto the renewal of the mandate of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir. The document reiterates that all OSCE members must comply with their commitments to the freedom of expression and free media. The organizations consider the decision of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan as an “an attempt to weaken the essential watchdog function of the mandate”

“The RFOM is a critical institution in safeguarding and promoting media freedom across the OSCE region. In particular, we value assistance that the RFOM provided to the OSCE participating States on relevant issues related to the promotion and protection of the media and freedom of expression and in shaping their policies and legislation in line with international standards and OSCE commitments.” – reads the document

“As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, ensuring media freedom is more important now than ever. We believe that the renewal of his mandate is an important opportunity for OSCE participating States to confirm their commitment to media freedom at a time when it is threatened and pledge further support towards this important mandate.

Therefore, we urge the Governments of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan and all OSCE participating States to uphold their international commitments and to support the renewal of the mandate of Mr Désir before it expires on 19 July”. The document was signed by ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression, Committee to Protect Journalists, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists, Freedom House, Index on Censorship, International Federation of Journalists, International Press Institute (IPI), PEN America, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Rory Peck Trust and others.