Internet freedom is under threat in Azerbaijan as intimidation and harassment of online activists and bloggers, restrictive laws, obstacles to access and politically motivated surveillance are seen to be on the rise, says the Expression Online coalition.

In its report, False Freedom: Internet freedom in Azerbaijan after the 7th Internet Governance Forum, the group says that threats to internet freedom are becoming more diverse as the number of worrisome developments have occurred in the aftermath of the IGF 2012, and in particular, during the first half of 2013 in the run up to October’s presidential election.

The adoption of legislation extending criminal defamation provisions to online content was the single biggest blow to freedom of expression online in the post-IGF Azerbaijan.

Targeting by authorities of individuals who used to the Internet to voice critical opinions remained a significant threat.

The report is a publication by the Expression Online Initiative, a consortium of Azerbaijani freedom of expression organizations led by the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). The report was developed in cooperation with the International Media Support and Free Press Unlimited.

October 24, 2013

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