Appeal for Unrestricted Internet in Azerbaijan Amid Election Season

In a concerted effort to ensure the freedom of information during the presidential elections in Azerbaijan slated for February 7, 2024, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has stepped forward as part of the #KeepItOn Coalition, advocating for uninterrupted and secure internet access. This move underscores the significance of digital rights at a time when electoral activities amplify.

A recent initiative saw the CPJ join hands with other coalition members, urging both Azerbaijani authorities and local telecom entities to refrain from internet blackouts or censorship, a practice that has previously marred key periods of unrest in the country since 2020. The emphasis on a freely accessible internet assumes greater importance against the backdrop of Azerbaijan’s history of limiting online spaces during sensitive events like military conflicts.

Furthermore, the appeal comes against a concerning backdrop where the Azerbaijani government has intensified its clampdown on dissenting voices in the press. In the run-up to the upcoming presidential elections, the oppressive response has culminated in the arrest of at least nine journalists on account of their investigative work, signaling a perilous environment for press freedom.

The CPJ and its coalition partners have made the full text of their letter public, detailing their concerns and recommendations, with the broader goal of safeguarding the cornerstone of any democracy: the right to information. The appeal posits that a truly democratic election process is intrinsically linked to the unobstructed flow of information, which can only be assured through an open and secure internet for all citizens.

FAQs about CPJ’s Advocacy for Free Information During Azerbaijan Elections

What is the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)?
The CPJ is an independent organization that promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

What is the #KeepItOn Coalition?
The #KeepItOn Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals that work to combat internet shutdowns and disruptions around the globe.

Why is CPJ advocating for internet freedom in Azerbaijan?
CPJ advocates for internet freedom in Azerbaijan to ensure the freedom of information during the presidential elections on February 7, 2024, a crucial time when free access to information is vital for a democratic electoral process.

What has prompted this action by the CPJ?
The CPJ’s action is prompted by Azerbaijan’s history of internet blackouts and censorship during sensitive times, such as during unrest since 2020, and by the government’s intensified clampdown on dissenting journalists ahead of the elections.

How many journalists have been arrested in Azerbaijan recently?
According to the article, at least nine journalists have been arrested on account of their investigative work in the run-up to the presidential elections.

What is CPJ’s goal with the public letter?
CPJ’s goal is to pressure Azerbaijani authorities and local telecom companies to ensure uninterrupted and secure internet access, thereby safeguarding the right to information as fundamental to democracy.

Definitions
Internet Blackout: A disruption or complete halt of internet access in a specific area or country, usually imposed by the government.
Censorship: The suppression or prohibition of speech, public communication, or other information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient by authorities.
Clampdown: A strict action taken to prevent or restrain a particular activity, often by enforcing regulations or laws.

Suggested Related Links
For further information regarding global press freedom and internet rights, you can visit the following websites:
Committee to Protect Journalists
#KeepItOn (via Access Now)

Please note: the URLs provided are to main domains, based on the assumption that they are 100% valid.