Freedom House report: Internet freedom in Azerbaijan is poor
International human rights organization Freedom House has released its annual report Internet Freedom 2021. In this report, Azerbaijan is ranked among the countries with a non-free Internet. Some experts in Azerbaijan consider this a prospect for society to “fall into a deep hole”.
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The report analyzed the situation with the freedom of the worldwide network in 70 countries of six regions of the world. Freedom House has noted an overall deterioration in global freedom over the past 11 years.
With 35 conditional points, Azerbaijan was named a country with a non-free Internet. The situation is the same in Turkey (34), Kazakhstan (33), Belarus (31), Russia (31) and Iran (16).
Out of the Caucasian states, Georgia has 77 points, Armenia – 71. The situation in these countries is assessed as better than that in Azerbaijan.
The report indicates that in January 2021, the police in Azerbaijan came to the home of user Sadar Askerov under the guise of an employment service. After that, the user was detained, beaten and forced to apologize for posting on Facebook criticizing the local authorities.
Baku denies accusations of Internet censorship, stating that the worldwide network in Azerbaijan is completely free.
However, currently in Azerbaijan, according to the decision of local courts, access to several websites of independent media is closed.
Recently, it became known that the authorities were spying on dozens of politically active citizens and journalists in Azerbaijan through the Pegasus spy program.
“I think that in today’s world, Internet freedom and speed are an important part of prosperity. More recently, another international report showed that in terms of Internet speed, Azerbaijan is in last place among the countries of the world.
Governments that do not know how to live in freedom find a way out in restricting freedom of citizens. And the progress of an unfree society is just an illusion. An unfree society does not develop; on the contrary, it digs a deep hole into which it will fall in the future, ”Azerbaijani historian Altai Geyushov wrote on his Facebook page, commenting on the Freedom House report.