Constitutional Court at the focus of controversies
The highest judicial instance in Azerbaijan, the Constitutional Court "is considering amendments that would ban the broadcast or publication of video, audio, or photographs of any person without his or her prior approval, except in yet-to-be defined special cases", reports RFE/RL.
According to local media law expert Alasgar Mammadli, if these amendments get approval, the situation will look like this:
Moreover, if someone refuses to give an interview, or comment on any issue, journalists won’t have any rights to publish the footage, where that person will say: "I don’t want to talk to you".
Constitutional Court is at the focus of controversies these days, because of another case before it. Recently, the Parliament of Azerbaijan decided to lift presidential term limits and asked the Court to rule about its constitutionality. Currently a person can be elected to the office of the President of Azerbaijan only twice, whereas ruling party wants the country to hold a referendum to eliminate any such limits.
As anticipated, on 24 December, the Court ruled to allow the requested referendum. Chairman of the Court, Farhad Abdullayev, said that there were no legal obstacles to such a referendum. If approved, these amendments could clear the way for Ilham Aliyev, the incumbent President of Azerbaijan to run for a third presidential term. He was elected as the President in 2003, and re-elected in October this year.
Meanwhile, the police broke up the protest by some opposition activists who tried to hold a demonstration in front of the Counstitutional Court building.