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Azerbaijani Police Raid Independent Media Office, Prompting Strong Condemnation from USA and Freedom House

Updated: Apr 18


Azerbaijani Police Raid Independent Media Office, Prompting Strong Condemnation from USA and Freedom House

Azerbaijani police raid the offices of independent media outlet Toplum TV, leading to the arrest of journalists and sparking outrage from international entities including the United States. U.S. State Department Spokesperson, Matthew Miller, expressed deep concern over the incident, emphasizing the ongoing media crackdown in Azerbaijan.


During a news briefing, Miller stated, “We are deeply troubled by the reports that Azerbaijani police raided the office of independent media outlet Toplum TV and by the reported arrests of multiple independent journalists and civil society activists in Azerbaijan today. We must express our strong objections to continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists, civil society voices, and opposition figures. We call on Azerbaijan to end the harassment of those exercising their fundamental freedoms and urge the release of all individuals being unjustly held in politically motivated cases. No one should face incarceration or other retribution for exercising freedom of expression”, US state department said in a news briefing.


The US State Department urged Azerbaijan to cease the harassment of those exercising their fundamental freedoms and demanded the release of individuals held in politically motivated cases.


International human rights organization Freedom House echoed these sentiments, condemning the crackdown on Toplum TV and urging democratic governments to hold the Aliyev regime accountable for its repression against journalists.


"The crackdown on Azerbaijani broadcaster Toplum TV is the Aliyev regime’s latest unacceptable attack on critical, independent voices in the country," said Freedom House in a statement, emphasizing the need for scrutiny on the regime's campaign against civil society, activists, and independent media.


On March 6, Azerbaijani police raided Toplum TV, detaining journalists Elmir Abbasov and Araz Aliyev, along with other media workers. The Interior Ministry cited 'operational search measures' based on information about the activities of a group of people.


This incident is part of a broader crackdown on Azerbaijani media outlets not aligning with the pro-government stance. Toplum TV, founded in 2016, has faced increasing pressure, with reports suggesting governmental interference before the snap presidential elections.


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