Index on Censorship strongly condemns the launch of a criminal investigation into online media outlet Meydan TV.
“Meydan TV and its staff have been ruthlessly targeted by Azerbaijani authorities. The charges invoked against Meydan TV are of similar nature to the charges that were used to send journalists and government critics to prison,” said Index senior advocacy officer Melody Patry. “This investigation confirms the government has no intention of changing its approach toward independent media and free expression in the country.”
Meydan TV reported today that Azerbaijani authorities launched a criminal probe against them for “alleged illegal practice and profit-making in an especially large amount, large-scale tax evasion and abuse of power resulting in falsification of elections and/or referendum results”.
The case against Meydan TV’s executives was filed by the General Prosecutor Office of Grave Crimes Investigation Department.
Harassment of Meydan TV and its journalists is not new. Meydan TV staff and their relatives have been facing extensive pressure ranging from threats to detention. 2013 Freedom of Expression Journalism Award-winning newspaper Azadliq was forced to stop printing and has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy as well.