Azerbaijan is the wrong place to hold a forum on internet freedom

Freedom of expression has been at the top of the agenda this week in Baku at the internet governance forum (IGF), an annual United Nations “multi-stakeholder” meeting. The IGF has previously been held in less democratic states, such as pre-Arab-spring Egypt, and was set up by the UN world summit on the information society, held in Tunisia (and Geneva). But the Azerbaijan government has been particularly vicious in its attacks on journalists and bloggers.Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor of the Azerbaijan Daily, was jailed in 2007 for criticising the government – after suffering beatings and the kidnapping of his father. Fatullayev recently won Unesco’s 2012 world press freedom prize. In 2011, the government threatened activist Elnur Majidli with 12 years in jail for “inciting hatred” (for calling for public protests via Facebook).

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