Azerbaijani Press Council has concluded its hotline monitoring of the parliamentary elections
The hotline of the Press Council of Azerbaijan has received 4 appeals from journalists covering the snap parliamentary elections from 8am to 7pm. Out of all the appeals, three were related to the 3rd, 5th and 20th polling stations of the 57th Kurdemir election constituency, whereas one appeal was from the 15th polling station of the 47th Mingachevir election constituency. Those who have made appeals included Murad Musayev ('7news' website), Rumiyye Miraslan ('ayna.az' website), Mirjelal Majidov ('femadia.az’ website) and Konul Aypara ('mediapress.az' website). As to all of the four cases, the Central Election Commission has been contacted and the issues have been dealt with accordingly.
The whole purpose of the 'hotline' operating under the auspices of the Press Council was to ensure that journalists are able to fulfill their functions in relation to covering the parliamentary elections as well as to make sure that any problem that may emerge is effectively dealt with. Those who desired to contact the hotline were able to do so via (012) 441 35 96 and (050) 206 96 02 (mob) from 8am to 7 pm.
On the whole, it could be asserted that the overall conditions for media coverage of the elections were of sufficiently desirable level. In particular, videos shared via social networks and websites were rather reassuring. Yet it should also be noted that in some polling stations journalists have faced difficulties while fulfilling their professional duties; some were not allowed to use their video cameras, some unnecessary discussions and instances of interferences with the journalistic activities have unfortunately been the case, which, in most cases, were due to the fact that some of the officials of the polling stations lacked the competence in working with media representatives. At the same time, journalists sometimes failed to act dutifully; there have been the cases of journalists interfering with what they considered to be unfair election practices, yet it should always be remembered that the primary function of a journalist to cover an event by acting strictly within the confines of his professional duties, which inter alia include, covering an event, asking questions and getting answers. The Council has also conducted a monitoring on the fulfillment of professional activities of journalists during the parliamentary elections. With this purpose in mind, the members of the Board of the Press Council were directly observing the elections in regions and in Baku. Since no irregularity has been noted, it could be said that the overall result of the monitoring is to be regarded as overwhelmingly plausible.