Today.Az » Politics » Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan is no longer a post-Soviet country. We are an independent, strong, modern, democratic state
30 December 2010 [10:37] - Today.Az

On December 29, at Baku’s Gulistan Palace the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev was presented “The Friend of Journalists” Award. The President said he will continue to make efforts for the development of free and independent press.

"I will continue to make efforts to develop free, independent press, I'll be more active in the implementation of democratic reforms in Azerbaijan, which promotes the full development of our country" - the president said, speaking Wednesday in Baku at a ceremony at his award "Friend journalists. "

The survey conducted from 1 to December 20 by the Committee on Protection of Azerbaijani Journalists "RUH" among media and journalistic organizations was aimed  to determine the winner of "A friend of journalists" award. 81% of all media representatives who participated in the survey named President Ilham Aliyev the most deserving man for this award.

Ilham Aliev noted that the day of his awarding was a significant day in his life.

"In Azerbaijan there is freedom of press and speech. Perhaps the story of a free press in Azerbaijan is not so great. A free press in Azerbaijan proved itself during the last years of the Soviet Union, the first independent newspapers appeared at that time. After independence, the formation of a free press has accelerated. But I believe that a turning point was in 1998. The elimination of the censorship national leader Heydar Aliyev played a decisive role in the formation of a free, independent press. Thereafter, in 2000, the Ministry of Press and Information was abolished and  the Press Council was established in 2003. These processes show that the intentions the Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani authorities have always been ambiguous, "- said Aliyev.

According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan has achieved great success in state-building. "We literally build a free, modern, democratic and legal state. It is impossible to build a legal state without a free press. That is why Azerbaijan should strengthen freedom of expression, commitment to pluralism, and the government of Azerbaijan should keep trying so that these freedoms are to be fully established in the country. Work undertaken in recent years show that we are on right way. The building of a legal state is being successfully carried out in Azerbaijan" - said Aliyev.

According to him, in Azerbaijan there are hundreds of newspapers, nearly a hundred weekly and 30 daily newspapers are being published and eight television stations broadcast nationwide.

"Internet is spreading rapidly in Azerbaijan. Of course, were there no state policy, this process would not be so dynamic. Today, in Azerbaijan the number of Internet users has reached almost 50% of the total population. At a meeting with members of the Press Council, which took place this summer, I have touched this issue and noted that in Azerbaijan, 40% of the population are Internet users. And in a short period, this number reached 50%. The development of information-communication technologies (ICT) is welcomed not only in Azerbaijan, it is appreciated all over the world. It shows again that our intention is to make Azerbaijani citizens have access to sources of information," president noted.

According to him, getting information is a natural right of every person, and the Azerbaijani State shall ensure the right of citizens. "We are building a modern, open, democratic state, and, of course, in this case, the public control should be stronger. A social control is impossible without a free press," - said the president of Azerbaijan.

Due to the President, economic reforms in Azerbaijan are complemented by political ones. "And significant steps are taken in this direction. Without a process of democratization and political reforms, we can not achieve long-term, stable economic development, despite the fact that our economy is diversified, we are rich in natural resources and Azerbaijan economically is fully self-sufficient. Despite all this, if the political changes will not take place at the right level, our success can be short term. We want both to build long-term strategy of development of Azerbaijan, so that decades later see Azerbaijan amplified, more Azerbaijani citizens will be able to live better and Azerbaijan will manage to consolidate its place in the world. This necessarily will require a political transformation, and we do just that "- said Aliyev.

According to him, a special role belongs to the freedom of the press in a democratic society. "It  is basically journalists who are sitting here, and I am  confident that you know this better than anyone. Given that the history of the freedom of the press in Azerbaijan is not so long, just 20 years, Azerbaijan has formed a strong, independent press. Of course, there I must, first and foremost, emphasize the activities of journalists, their work under difficult conditions. I appreciate the work of the Press Council which perfectly regulates the relations between journalists and government agencies. I guess that the reforms and current positive situation in Azerbaijan is a clear example of this. I think that the relationship between state agencies and the press should be even stronger, "- said the president.

"I will do my best so that we will achieve this. The political transformation is our conscious choice as well as activities in all fields in Azerbaijan We are doing this in a conscious manner. That is to say, we do not do it for the fulfilment of commitments taken before international organizations. We have voluntarily become members of international organizations, no one forced us to do so. We want to see the criteria and standards in Azerbaijan not to concede to those of developed countries. We want people to live well in Azerbaijan that the country has formed a powerful political system, Azerbaijan has achieved great strides in the economic sphere. We want a process of dynamic implementation of social programs to pass comprehensively that will lead to the development of the country. In order to implement political reforms we have a strong political will, and the Azerbaijani society is ready for it "- said the president.

According to him, during the period of the Soviet Union and before the socio-political system did not allow the democratic processes to occur in Azerbaijan. "But today, as an independent nation, we have made great strides. Once again I want to note - this is our conscious and strategic choice. After the restoration of independence paths in different directions were open in the country. We could go the other way, but at the decisive moment for the country, especially in 1993, after the arrival at the insistence of the people to power, the national leader Heydar Aliyev, identified areas for future development. First of all, he found the solution to development issues and the choice of the path of the country in the conceptual framework. If these fundamental issues were not been resolved, our growth could go in another direction. Azerbaijani state remains committed to the strategic line of state-building since 1993, and continues this policy today, "- said the president.

According to him, the realities of Azerbaijan show that it was the right choice. "Building a democratic state in Azerbaijan, the establishment of a market economy, human rights, the policy of integration into the international community, the use of energy resources and investment - all these are interrelated issues. The principles of market economy can produce results only in a free competition. A free competition is possible only in a democracy society. We know the experience of other countries, we have studied the history, we all remember the existence and the collapse of the Soviet Union. We must determine and provide long-term prospects of the country. If today we look at the development of the country, we will see positive changes in all directions. Azerbaijani economy  is well-established  and  has completed the period of transition. Azerbaijan is no longer a post-Soviet country. We are an independent, strong, modern, democratic country, "- said Aliyev.

According to him, Azerbaijan has fully approved the principles of market economy, 85 percent of the country's economy is formed by the private sector. "In addition, our policies in terms of  social programs are socially-oriented . Neither in this nor in the past year, citizens of Azerbaijan did not feel the bitter outcome of the economic crisis, and there is a sole reason for this. This is due to the fact that Azerbaijan leads conscious policy, and we know perfectly well what steps must be taken in the economic sphere to ensure sustainable development of the country and at the same time maximize the welfare of people in the area of social protection. We are well aware of the processes occurring in this and last year in the world. We follow this by the press and see what there problems and difficulties are. We are living at our own expense and  we are  not touched by the bitter consequences of the crisis. We have ensured the successful development of Azerbaijan ", - said the president.

According to the President, political transformation, and especially the parliamentary elections in the country have once again shown its citizens and the international community the successful development of Azerbaijan. "I think that the positive tendencies appeared today will continue in the future. The successful development of Azerbaijan is already a reality. We see this in everyday life, the reports of international financial institutions and most importantly - we can clearly see the future and our current development path. Sometimes people ask, and what  Azerbaijan will be like in ten or twenty years to come? "Of course, it is impossible to predict the future with absolute certainty, but in any case we know which way and where we go. I have no doubt that in five or ten years Azerbaijan will only go along the path of development. For the economic situation, material and financial resources, political and social stability in the country, the unity of the people and government, handling of the security issues at the highest level will create an opportunity to build activities program in the years to come  and to maximize the protection of Azerbaijan from political, regional and economic risks and thus to determine the long-term development strategy ", - said Aliyev.

Azerbaijani President also noted that there are problems in the country "We know about them and work to resolve them. The authorities in Azerbaijan carry out their responsibilities in the social and political spheres as well as improve the rules of political struggle in the country. I believe that in recent years we have seen positive changes in this area. Political struggle in Azerbaijan is carried out mainly in a civilized manner, a political system is being formed , political relations develop  under normal circumstances. I think this is an important factor for the future development of the country, and we need to reinforce these tendencies. Of course, in Azerbaijan there has to be a political struggle, and actually it is.There are people, parties and social structures with a different outlook, and I see it as a positive phenomenon, "- said Aliyev.

According to him, Azerbaijan can achieve great results only through discussions, debates, a fair criticism. "Therefore, I believe that the successes achieved in recent years in this field are worthy of approval. Azerbaijani government will continue to clearly carry out their duties in order to conduct a political struggle in the country within civilized methods. At the same time, we must be fair in this fight and not forget about the processes going around Azerbaijan. Independence - it's a great value, for centuries the people of Azerbaijan lived with the dream of independence, but he could not see it. We are happy that see independence, and not only see, but also participate in its strengthening. This is a historic opportunity  given to the Azerbaijani people, and we must not lose it, sure - do not lose. Every day we are strengthening our independence. Therefore, in addition to positive processes in the country we wish to thrive around us peace, tranquillity and cooperation. We took it as a basis for our relations with  neighbours. The priority is to build good relations with neighbours. We can say we have achieved this, and these relations are equal, based on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's affairs, "- said the president.

According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan regained its independence from the period of living in the information war. "The information war against Azerbaijan was launched by Armenia and the Armenian lobby in the late 80s of XX century. In the first years of independence we have lost this war, and it may be, of course, because we have not had such international resources. Unpleasant process in the country, power struggles, civil war, economic decline did not allow us to achieve the desired results in the international arena. But today, I can say with confidence that we are winning the information war against Armenia and the Armenian lobby.

They are nervous and hysterical and our actions in recent years show that we have made great strides in this information war. Of course, in this area along with public policy and I appreciate the work of media institutions. Today we can bring realities of Azerbaijan to the attention of the world. It is promoted by our media resources, as well as an increase in the number of friends Azerbaijan has around the world," he said.

According to Aliyev, Azerbaijan is an important country in the sphere of regional energy security. "Often, our views and actions are decisive and it is not a coincidence that the number of those who wish to build friendly relations with Azerbaijan rises. Over the past few years we have opened dozens of embassies, Azerbaijan has more than 50 embassies around the world, and it is our information resources. Anywhere in the world  our fellow citizens are able to undertake and carry out various actions. We carry a diplomatic attack, and we have the resources for this, both intellectual and material. It is no accident that we start to win the fight with the Armenian lobby. Of course, it makes them worry. Eventually we will reach even greater success in this fight "- believes the president of Azerbaijan.

According to him, the information battle in the current environment - one of the priorities. "We live in the age of internet and globalization, and must use all the modern features. We are well aware that some information about Azerbaijan is not true. We are well aware of the community who are interested in distributing this information. Smear campaign is being carried out. against Azerbaijan There is a reason, and it is not just about the Armenian lobby. If we look at the processes inside and outside the country, we see that the negative information about Azerbaijan is related to important events in the region. The main reason for a smear campaign being waged against Azerbaijan is an independent policy. Azerbaijan does not bow before anyone, it is not subject to anyone's will, above all we put the interests of the Azerbaijani people, "- said Aliyev.

According to him, there are circles in Azerbaijan  which do not like these overt act. "The lack of leverage within the country makes them go to such dirty ways. But we have to take it with equanimity. This is one of the methods of modern political struggle. We will not give in to emotions, but we will not deviate from its path. The best answer to those forces is faithful to our strategic path. Azerbaijan has not come down this path, it is impossible make Azerbaijan go under pressure, all attempts of any pressure on Azerbaijan have been unsuccessful. We'll be persistent, steadfast and firm. Azerbaijan - an independent country, its future is in the hands of the Azerbaijani people, the will of the Azerbaijani people above all else, we should all try to protect their country, "- said the president.

It is not excluded that in the future pressure on Azerbaijan is to increase, said the head of state. "The geographical position of the country, regional processes, strengthening of the Azerbaijani state and its transformation into a modern country can lead to increased pressure. We have always carried sincere policy with our political partners, trying to build a relationship based on friendship and cooperation. The number of our friends is growing. But there are forces who do not like us, and there are a variety of reasons. They just can not put up with the successes of Azerbaijan, envy, seeing our modern city. Baku Today - one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As I say this, but the time will come when we will say that Baku is the most beautiful city in the world. The beauty, comfort, conditions, safety, climate, good nature and hospitality of the people - all these are the main factors that distinguish the world. We tried to eliminate all the shortcomings in our cities and in the whole country, to improve the situation, take action for the convenience of the people. And all this is of invaluable role of the press, "- said Aliyev.

The president said that he supports fair criticism, since such criticism is very important for any government. "We monitor the situation and know what is happening in the country. But there are areas that can slip out of sight, and here is the crucial role of the press, and I appreciate this role. I stand a fair criticism. But slander, insult - it is unacceptable and in recent years, such attempts in the press of the country decreased. I am confident that as time passes it will manifest itself fully, and political struggle in the country will be conducted within civilized methods "- he said.

According to Aliyev, it is a great honour for him to be a friend of journalists. "I did not expect such a reward and just trying to lend their support to this important area. I know that journalists have a household, apartment issues, journalists - not business people to create for themselves all the conditions. When I put forward the initiative of building houses for journalists I did it for free, because I knew that this was necessary. I appreciate the work of journalists, it is hard work, sometimes journalists are faced with injustice and pressure. We know that. We do not consider their work completed and  in the future will also be made similar moves. I then turned to the journalistic community and said that all areas of the camp and journalists should benefit from the allocation of apartments . There should not be bias, the basis should be taken by the principle of justice. At a meeting with members of the Press Council, I presented my thoughts regarding the development of freedom of journalism and the press. And today, I shared some of my thoughts. Once again I want to note that regardless of winning and I'll continue to try to work in this area. Azerbaijani state and I as an elected president, will not spare its efforts in the formation and support of modern journalism in Azerbaijan ", - said the head of state.


On December 29, at Baku’s Gulistan Palace the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev was presented “The Friend of Journalists” Award.

The Azerbaijani Committee for Protection of Journalists “RUH” has conducted a survey among the media outlets and journalist organizations to determine the winner of the Award “The friend of Journalists” for 2010.

As is reported 30 daily, 19 weekly newspapers, 2 magazines, 11 information agencies, 13 journalist organizations, 8 information portals, 7 TV and 3 radio channels, totally 93 media bodies have participated in the survey. The daily newspapers, TV channels and information agencies were given two questionnaires, other media outlets and journalist organizations were given one questionnaire. The respondents were asked to answer the question “Which public, political figure, official do you consider the friend of journalists in 2010?”

81% of the respondents considered that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev deserves the “The Friend of Journalists” Award. The Award instituted in 1997, was last presented to the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in 2002.

Head of the Azerbaijan Sate made speech at the ceremony.

Then, the State Support Fund for Development of Mass Media under the President of Azerbaijan Republic awarded the winners of professional journalistic contest and made lump sum financial assistance to the 31 editions and 8 news agencies.

/AzerTAc, Trend/

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Photos: /AzerTAc/

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