Azerbaijan seeks to silence RFE/RL ahead of presidential election
The Azerbaijani Service website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) remains under a government ban, ahead of the April 2018 presidential election. The ban dates from May 2017, when a Baku district court approved a request by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technology to block access to the Azerbaijani Service’s website.
It followed an earlier order by the Prosecutor General’s office that blocked the site, claiming they “pose a threat” to Azerbaijan’s national security” and promote “violence, hatred, or extremism, violate privacy, or constitute slander.”
Prior to the Prosecutor General’s order, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service had, together with the Sarajevo-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, reported on financial activities linked to members of the president’s family and close associates. It had also investigated costs associated with the September 2016 referendum that extended the term of the presidency from five to seven years, and created the post of Vice President, to which President Ilham Aliyev has since appointed his wife.