Index on Censorship and partner organizations have strongly condemned moves by Azerbaijan’s government on Tuesday to criminalise online slander and abuse in the run-up to the country’s October Presidential election.
The government claims the move will give it the ability to more effectively oversee the web, the AFP reported. The opposition argues the law will have a chilling effect on free expression and could be used to stifle dissent.
Index on Censorship has previously criticised attempts by governments to control the online activities of their citizens. In the latest development, Index has joined a coalition to strongly condemn a series of repressive legislative amendments that Azerbaijan’s National Assembly adopted Tuesday.
The existing penalties for criminal defamation and insult in the media have been extended to online content, including Azerbaijan’s social networks. The length of “administrative” detention – 15 days without referring to a court has increased to 90 days.
What is the state of academic freedom in 2015? Index on Censorship magazine’s summer issue takes a global vantage point to explore all the current threats – governmental, economic and social – faced by students, teachers and academics. Also in this issue: Sir Harold Evans, AC Grayling, Tom Holland and Xinran present their free-speech heroes.