Report: Media freedoms in decline in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's independent media face violence, pressure and a worsening climate, international observers warned Wednesday, as a popular opposition paper in the Caspian Sea nation faces eviction from its editorial offices. In a joint statement read to journalists at the newspaper Azadliq, members nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called on Azerbaijan authorities to do more to protect journalists and to find the killer of opposition magazine editor Elmar Huseinov, who was gunned down in his Baku apartment building last year. "We think that the recent events demonstrate a worsening of the overall condition of independent mass media in Azerbaijan," said the statement, read by Joan Polaschik, chief of the political and economic section of the US Embassy in Azerbaijan. The statement also criticized authorities for restricting radio broadcasts from the Voice of America, Radio Liberty, the British Broadcasting Corp. and other foreign media outlets, and it called on Azerbaijani journalists to observe standards of professionalism and objectivity.