Baku bans RIA Novosti news agency for provocation against regional peace-building efforts
By Vugar Khalilov
Russian state-funded RIA Novosti news agency's provocative move undermines Moscow's post-conflict, regional peace-building efforts, Azernews reports, citing Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva.
“The dissemination by the Russian state news agency of information, which contradicts the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, promotes defamatory and separatist tendencies, does not correspond to the spirit of friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, and thus is deeply regrettable,” Abdullayeva said.
She added that this action by the state-funded news agency is in violation of the provisions of the 1997 Agreement on Friendship, Security, and Strategic Partnership between Azerbaijan and Russia, as well as the 2022 Declaration on Allied Cooperation, which requires both countries "to refrain from any activity directed against the principles of the UN Charter and each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity," as well as "counter the threats of separatism".
Azerbaijan has blocked the Russian RIA Novosti news agency due to publishing an interview with certain Artak Beglaryan, a Karabakh separatist. The agency once again questioned the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, presenting the territory in Karabakh under the temporary control of Russian peacekeepers as the "Nagorno-Karabakh republic" and Artak Beglaryan as a "state minister".
RIA Novosti's move sparked outrage in Azerbaijan. Some media outlets called for an adequate response to this step that is blocking the news agency in Azerbaijan.
Commenting on the issue, the Azerbaijani Digital Development and Transport Ministry stated that access to Internet information resources is restricted due to the publication of material that is forbidden by law in the country.
According to the law, access to the Internet information resource or its relevant part is restricted in cases where there is a threat to the legally protected interests of the state and society by the decision of the relevant executive authority.
This is not the first time that the information agency disseminated defamatory and separatist information against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
RIA Novosti violated the requirements of the Azerbaijani law on information by disseminating defamatory and separatist information on the Internet resulting in the blocking of the agency's Internet information resources in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani journalist, TV critic, and professor Gulu Maharramli also described the blocking of the Russian news agency as an adequate step, Azernews reports, citing local media.
“I think that the blocking of RIA Novosti in Azerbaijan is a very appropriate and correct decision. Because RIA Novosti, a Russian state agency, has repeatedly published articles and interviews against Azerbaijan, against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and inciting separatism in Azerbaijan. They have been warned many times, but the latest information shows that the agency disrespects the territorial integrity and state independence of Azerbaijan in these matters. Therefore, it is very important to block such a website, and I think it is a very honest step taken by Azerbaijan, no matter how sharp it is,” Maharramli said.
Maharramli noted that in general, RIA Novosti and other Russian websites pay too much attention to the Karabakh separatists.
"They spread all the necessary and unnecessary information about them; they act as their press network. Such agencies are completely captive of the Armenian forces in Russia. A lot of information is prepared at their dictation. Therefore, Azerbaijan has taken the very right step by blocking the website. I think that these steps should be applied to any Russian website, as well as other foreign websites, which in the future will commit information provocations against Azerbaijan and question our information security. Everyone should know that Azerbaijan is an independent state, and such information provocations against it are unacceptable. Stimulation of separatism, in general, is not only related to bilateral relations but also contradicts international law and international conventions. Therefore, drastic measures must be taken against activities that support such separatism," he stressed.
According to the expert, other Russian websites, including Sputnik. az should draw serious conclusions from this case.
"The distribution of about 10 Azerbaijani news agencies or websites in Russia has been banned. Why? Because when these websites provide any information about the Russian-Ukrainian war, Russia believes that there are nuances that affect their interests. Therefore, just like every state, Azerbaijan must protect its information security, too. Therefore, blocking such websites is completely logical," Maharramli added.
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