Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission said in a joint declaration published following a meeting with members of the Azerbaijani media on the safety of journalists that they stand ready to support any progress in Azerbaijan in securing freedom of expression for individuals and for the media in general, both offline and online.
The three officials pointed at key steps necessary for the Azerbaijani authorities to give clear signs of their commitment to secure freedom of expression in the country, namely:
the initiation of effective and transparent investigations into crimes against journalists, thereby putting an end to continuing impunity in this field;
the release from detention of all those journalists, bloggers and citizens reporting, who have been deprived of their liberty for having expressed their opinion;
strengthening the independent and impartial review of cases related to freedom of expression by the judiciary,
and the adoption of legislative changes, including the decriminalisation of defamation in compliance with the relevant judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.