The newspaper Azadliq, widely recognised as one of the last remaining independent news outlets operating in Azerbaijan, is facing imminent closure. The aggressive campaign by the authorities against the newspaper and the denial of advertising shows the desire of the authorities to stifle the newspaper, according to the news site Contact.
A statement from the paper, quoted in the news site, outlined its “difficult financial situation”. “If the problems are not resolved in the shortest possible time, the publication of the newspaper will be impossible,” it read. Azadliq has long faced an uphill battle to stay in business.
In July 2014, Azadliq was forced to suspend print publication. Editor Rahim Haciyev told Index on Censorship that the government-backed distributor had refused to pay out the some 75,000 EUR it owed the paper, which meant it could not pay its printer.
The paper has also seen its finances squeezed through being banned from selling copies on tube stations and the streets of Baku, and being slapped with fines of some 73,500 EUR following defamation suits in 2013. The paper was also evicted from its offices in 2006 and authorities have repeatedly targeted its journalists.
Milana Knezevic, “Azerbaijan: Independent newspaper Azadliq faces imminent closure” (25 June 2015) Index on Censorship
“Azadlig Newspaper Could Suspend Its Publication” (25 June 2015), Contact.az