«Casus by Lapshin»
2017 March 22 ( Wednesday ) 22:14:20
At the moment when Azerbaijan is celebrating Novruz, the coming of spring, dating back to the pre-Christian times of Tengrianism, Armenia in its usual manner held a meeting of bloggers in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
Formally, this event of solidarity with the blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was detained in Baku, was supported by Yerevan, and it was a protest against the violation of civil rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan. In fact, Lapshin and his colleagues sympathizing with him became involved in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict with much more serious challenges and threats. Regardless if they want it or not, but in this case the bloggers took the side of one of the participants in the protracted bloody conflict. Never mind if they want it or not, but by their actions they make more complicated the resolution of the Karabakh problem, which brings suffering to both peoples, as evidenced by their joint final appeal.
On the results of the forum held in Karabakh on 20-21 March bloggers from 11 countries adopted a statement in which "noting the importance of the realization and protection of fundamental human rights, in particular, the right to freedom of expression and the right to free movement, emphasizing the universal responsibility of the international community in this question, and taking into account the irreplaceable role of media representatives in providing objective information, expressing full support to the people of the Republic of Artsakh, we are convinced that the steps of any government aimed at limiting the rights of media and blogosphere representatives to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of movement, as well as the policy of prosecuting these rights are gross violations of basic human rights and freedoms.
We condemn all cases of encroachments and restrictions on freedom of expression and movement. We emphasize that the International Forum of Bloggers in the Republic of Artsakh is the best response to the persecution, and any steps to limit free movement, freedom of expression, including free search and dissemination of information. We assure that each of us is determined to contribute to the realization of fundamental human rights, and to contribute to the consolidation of peace. "
The statement shows the inconsistency and mixed feelings of the signatories. On the one hand, the forum is seen as a response to the restriction of freedom of movement and expression, on the other, as support for the people of Artsakh, and, thirdly, as a contribution to the consolidation of peace. As can be seen from the statement, there are various problems, which refute each other and create some confusion. One cannot help noticing that Azerbaijan or the Aliyev family are not mentioned, whom some members of the forum insulted on the eve of the forum in the most unpleasant manner. Why such a degree of self-censorship? But in any case, it shows that bloggers, who are far from professional and ethical standards of journalists, nevertheless, have some sense of civic responsibility when they have to officially demonstrate their position. This situation could be considered as information for reflection on the effectiveness of official Baku's policy of blocking the visits of foreign citizens to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, in this case, bloggers and journalists.
The situation is moot: how can a writer draw up an objective picture of the Karabakh conflict without visiting Karabakh. He cannot go there through Azerbaijan, and to get there through Armenia is a crime, but still, the only corridor. And those who controls the corridor and territories most likely influence the mood of the feeling of a creative person, who turned to be at the very center of the conflict.
It would be ideal for Azerbaijan to organize through Baku such visits of journalists and bloggers to the conflict region in coordination with Armenia and under the auspices of the OSCE, as well as an international union of journalists and other similar organizations. Azerbaijan should not fear from the truth.
In its article "Lapshin, whom we do not know"
http://contact.az/docs/2017/Analytics/020900182736en.htm#.WNKkZlWLTIU Turan agency spoke about the various consequences of Lapshin's arrest. And while the worst conclusions are confirmed - begins the process of international consolidation of those who advocate freedom of movement and expression. The fight against these ideas and principles is unpromising, counterproductive, and the demarche of bloggers showed it. First of all it is necessary to start with national journalism and the blogosphere, which is under a tough and senseless pressure.
Media policy really requires rethinking, and the case is not Lapshin and the journalists who support him; the matter is the relations much more important for Azerbaijani society and the state, the relations which have been violated as a result of introducing a wide range of restrictive measures against journalists and bloggers acting as communicative mediators of the parties.