Saturday, January 10, 2009

More restrictions

I heard some more bad news from a friend of mine. She works for one of the few independent news organizations here.

I knew about the measure to allow unlimited re-election for the president. I knew about the closure of the BBC and Radio Free Europe. Now, it turns out that as part of the referendum on the term limit measure, voters will have the chance to approve an unrelated law that will make it potentially illegal to take a picture of someone without that person's consent.

While this may sound benign to a layman, it has some serious implications. This is not about protecting people from invasion of privacy. Rather, the law is bound to be enforced selectively. For example, how can you get the written permission of every person participating in a demonstration? Basically, the law would give police a reason to arrest any photographer trying to shoot something that is potentially embarrassing.

Azerbaijan appears to be moving quite steadily toward increasing authoritarianism.


Krista said...

i heard about this, but where is an article online? can't find one about it for some reason...

Eric said...

I'll look on My source was quite good.

Eric said...

Here's a brief article on the subject - with commentary from the International Center For Journalists.

Krista said...

Hmm...thanks. I couldn't find the article for some reason. i went out with a russian journalist from novaya gazeta today and we talked about this. she was really curious about media in az so i mentioned you ;-)

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