A game of free-speech cat-and-mouse is moving into another media sphere in Azerbaijan, where officials in Baku are mulling the introduction of a licensing system for online radio and TV operations. Media rights advocates are decrying licensing plans as a means of control over the free flow of information.
Police blocked hundreds of young Azerbaijanis on April 30 from commemorating the one-year anniversary of a shooting spree at Baku’s State Oil Academy that left 13 dead. The Ministry of the Interior claims that 10 individuals were arrested in connection with the unsanctioned commemoration; youth activists and bloggers report dozens more.
Earlier in April two imprisoned youth activists and bloggers in Azerbaijan, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, were transferred from a Baku detention facility to separate prison colonies. Conditions in the two prisons vary widely, local human rights organizations say.