OP 25 – Media and Social Networking in Azerbaijan

media thumbnailAzerbaijan’s previous role as a major IT development centre for the former Soviet Union has resulted in a legacy and technical infrastructure favourable to media and communication.   Today, Azerbaijan is one of the most well connected and technologically advanced countries in the CIS.

However, as in other countries of the former Soviet Union, it is inevitable that 70 years of authoritarian rule has left its imprint: concerns about censorship, intimidation of the press and restriction of sensitive information still influence political and civic life.   Notwithstanding this burdensome past, positive steps are being made to ensure a free media, and free access to information throughout the country, as Azerbaijan continues to integrate with the West.

The Caspian Information Centre’s latest Occasional Paper, “Media and Networking in Azerbaijan”, published today, addresses the current state and future prospects of the media and online networking in the country.   When assessing the relative freedom of media and information in Azerbaijan, one should not discount testimonies of censorship, which remain persistent, but it is important to recognise that the clear trend among government policy-makers and civil society is towards greater freedom of media and information.