Tuesday , 21 May 2019

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Internet restrictions in Azerbaijan: Yale students conduct research for website blocking case

Students from the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School have collaborated with EHRAC lawyers on a case before the European Court of Human Rights challenging a block the government of Azerbaijan has placed on four news websites in Azerbaijan for publishing allegedly prohibited material. The Clinic researched restrictions on online media, including steps taken by the government to control websites and media outlets accessible in Azerbaijan, and comparable restrictions aimed at stifling freedom of expression in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. They also provided detailed analysis of the international legal standards on freedom of speech from the Council of Europe, the European Union, UN Human Rights Committee, the OSCE and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, amongst others.

EHRAC and a team of Azerbaijani lawyers are representing Meydan TV, Azadliq, Azerbaycan Saati and Turan TV (prominent independent and/or opposition news websites recently blocked in Azerbaijan) before the European Court. We argue that the ban restricts the websites’ freedom of expression and is politically motivated, and that they did not have any effective means of challenging the decision domestically. In April 2018, the Court decided to grant priority treatment to the case and its examination is currently pending.

The Yale students were supervised by James Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights at Yale Law School and Supervising Attorney of the Lowenstein Clinic. The Lowenstein Clinic students commented:

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