Regulatory authorities

The Press Council is the body of media self-regulation in Azerbaijan. It was established on March 2003 with the purpose to provide public oversight of journalists in their professional activities, observe the requirements of the law and professional principles, strengthen the relationship between public authorities, the public and the press, and create greater opportunities for freedom of speech, opinion and information. The council carries out investigations of the options of pre-trial settlement of the conflicts in the field of activity of media, reception, studying and making decisions on the behaviour of the editorial staff. The main goals of the council are to establish public control on adherence of media members to the rules of the Professional Code of Ethics of Journalists, to strengthen the network, to ensure trust among the public, the state bodies and the mass media, and to provide better conditions for the freedom of expression, thought and information. Its official mission is to investigate complaints and settle conflicts. Yet its basic action is to punish media members and outlets when they infringe the law, specifically by ignoring professional standards or impairing individuals’ honour, dignity and business reputation. The use of blacklists and other punitive instruments is evidence of the fall and disorientation of the Press Council, which has lost the ability to perform its functions of self-regulation, pre-trial institution and consolidating factor. It has lost its inherent essence. Since its establishment in 2003, the pro-governmental Press Council has been headed by Aflatun Amashov, who is also a Member of Parliament.

There is no press ombudsman that may function as a separate institution in Azerbaijan. A provision in the Access to Information Law of 2005 required the establishment of an information commissioner. Yet, the amendments of 2010 to the Constitutional Law on the Human Rights Commissioner passed these duties to the Human Rights Commissioner or ombudsman.