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4 MORE WEBSITES BLOCKED

09.08.2018 / The Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies demanded that they delete articles within 8 hours; afterwards proceeded with a court order to that end.

3 more websites operating in Azerbaijan were blocked on the 8th of August.

Sabail District Court issued a decision on blocking the websites xural.com, arqument.az, and monitortv.info, following a lawsuit filed by Ramin Guluzade, the minister of Transport, Communication and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Particularly in relation to xural.com the minister requested to block the website by referencing four articles published on that portal, entitled, "The fall of Elmar Valiyev"; "Now you know why the Sabunchu hospital is called mortuary"; " Avaz Zeynalli has written about the deputy prime minister's grandkid: He was not really serving his term"; and "The deputy prime minister in Nakhchivan has been arrested for his courtships".

Avaz Zeynalli, the head of the website, testified in court that, besides the article on deputy prime minister's grandson, the articles were not written by his site, but simply linked to other websites’ materials.

Arqument.az was asked to be blocked due to two articles published on the website. According to Shamshad Agayev, head of the news site, one of those articles was about an appeal to the country's president from the residents of three villages of the Lerik district who still have no access to water. The deputy chief executive of the Lerik district and the press service of Azersu OJSC also expressed their opinions. In connection with this, the chief of the website stated, "Apparently, the order came from the above, and this went without even reading the article. If there was a false statement then the parties that were mentioned in the article had to go to court. We brought the voice of people who have been left without water. Now it is a matter of conscience and morality."

Shamshad Agayev described the decision to close the website as politically motivated.

Although he requested for the appointment of examination in the court and presented petitions on questioning of the officers from Electronic Security Service under the jurisdiction of the ministry, those motions were denied.

On August 7 the Sabail District Court issued a decision on blocking of the website az24saat.org.

Vugar Gurdganli, head of the website, noted that before the decision, the Electronic Security Service warned them and demanded that 4 articles mentioning the name of Ali Hasanov, assistant to the president, should be removed from the website within 8 hours.

The chief editor refused to remove the articles saying that these claims are unlawful.

On a related note, on May 12, 2017, Sabail District Court ordered the blocking of the websites, Azerbaycansaati.Org, Turan.Tv Azadlıq.Org, Azadlıq.Info and Meydan.Tv.

Official termination of internet resources by the state agencies was authorised by amendments to the following laws made by the National Assembly to the following laws, "Information, informatization and protection of information" and "On telecommunication".