The appeal was read by Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov.
"After gaining independence in the 1990s, wide opportunities opened for establishment of free and democratic press in our country," the president said.
The head of state underlined that thanks to the efforts of Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev, the artificial barriers that restricted freedom of speech and press were eliminated, a strong legislative base was created for regulating media activities, consistent measures were taken to strengthen the material and technical base of editorial offices, and a foundation was laid for progressive traditions in media-state relations.
"The manifestation of the democratization process in Azerbaijan was the creation of the Press Council, which performs the function of self-regulation of the press, at the first congress of journalists in 2003. This can be regarded as completion of the transition period in relations of the media with the state and society, and the beginning of a qualitatively new stage. Over the past 15 years, the Press Council has made rational proposals related to development of freedom of speech and press in Azerbaijan, improvement of the media activities and strengthening of independence. The Press Council has also made serious efforts in regulating relations between state bodies, citizens and the media, protecting the rights of journalists, increasing their professionalism and eliminating negative phenomena in the media. Today, the Press Council, distinguished by its consistent and purposeful activity, has taken a worthy place among the leading public organizations of Azerbaijan and has won great prestige in the society," the address of the head of state reads.
President Aliyev noted that in the Republic of Azerbaijan, which today enjoys strong economic and financial potential, a comprehensive state support is provided to development of every sphere, including mass media.
"It is no coincidence that influence of national information resources is growing worldwide and its competitiveness is rising. I think that in the modern world, where the global network is expanding and transnational media have a serious impact on the domestic life and international prestige of different countries, Azerbaijani media should be more active and principled, keep our national interests above all, demonstrating high professionalism, and should not spare power and abilities for the progress of our society," President Aliyev said.
"I believe the 7th Congress will turn into an important platform for effective discussions on the current state and prospects of the Azerbaijani press, and important decisions will be made on the future development of our national journalism. In this regard, I wish each of you and all Azerbaijani journalists good health and success to the Congress," the president's message reads.
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