A protest was held just recently against the journalists’ exit ban
Nine Azerbaijani journalists have been removed from the country’s no-fly list, where they landed in 2015 for cooperating with the opposition media outlet Meydan TV.
Journalists have sought to be removed from the list for four years.
Why and how these journalists ended up on the no-fly list
MeydanTV is an independent Azerbaijani media outlet headquartered in Berlin, and the site is known for harsh criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities.
In 2015, MeydanTV was accused of violating the rules of accreditation for foreign media and a criminal case was opened against the organization.
A number of journalists that collaborated with Meydan TV were called in to give testimony against the outlet, and since then, many have ended up on the no-fly list – a list of people who are banned from leaving the country.
The law “On the rules of accreditation of representatives of foreign media in the Republic of Azerbaijan” was approved in spring 2015. According to this rule, the head of foreign media outlets must send send a letter of request to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, attaching detailed information about the journalist they want to accredit.
Since 2016, the site Meydan TV in Azerbaijan has been blocked.
Journalists who received the bans have been fighting for four years to have them lifted. They filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights, and in December 2018, the court recognized the violation of their rights and ordered the government of Azerbaijan to pay them compensation. And on May 3, 2019, eight journalists staged a protest in front of the building of the Investigation Department for Grave Crimes in Baku.
How was the ban removed?
On May 6, four of the eight protesters were summoned to the Investigation Department and told that their exit ban had been lifted.
Among them were three journalists and the poet Rasim Garaj, who wrote several articles on literature for Meydan TV.
“The management also told us that if we want to cooperate with Meydan TV in the future, we will have to receive accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” one of the journalists, Izolda Agayeva, told JAMnews.
Over the course of the next week, the ban was removed from the other participants of the rally, as well as from two more journalists who were not at the rally.
Another journalist managed to get permission to leave earlier than her colleagues because of her health condition.
The majority of journalists that were included as witnesses in the Meydan TV case are no longer on the no-fly list.
Meanwhile, the other day the site announced multiple hacker attacks on its server and on the mailboxes of employees.