Khadija Ismayilova, who has been jailed for her reporting on high-level corruption, explains why the revelations matter.
Azerbaijan may not mean that much to you. In the west it is perhaps best known as a plucky winner of the Eurovision song contest, or maybe easy opponents in qualification for another international football tournament. It has oil, a Caspian Sea coastline and 10 million people.
But there is another side.
Journalism is a crime in my country – the numbers say it all: 10 out of 158 political prisoners in Azerbaijan are journalists. The last remaining independent news agency, Turan, stopped work last week.
There is a high price for defiance. I was subjected to blackmail with intimate videos, filmed by secret services in my private home. I was jailed for a litany of trumped-up charges. I was not alone.
The Azerbaijani regime has a strong rationale for such oppression. The lack of independent media and civil society secures absolute impunity for corruption – a free hand for the elite to build their hotels and develop their mining interests. They don’t want to be questioned on where the wealth comes from and why the public money does not serve public interests.
Further details and source: The Guardian