The international forum of bloggers organized by “Artsakhakertum” non-governmental organization along with Artsakh Journalists Union concluded its work in Stepanakert, Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Republic.
Around 30 bloggers from 11 states attended the two-day event. In the scope of the forum, the international guests made presentations and held discussions on the main topic of the event which was coverage of the conflict on social media and the mechanism to guarantee the freedom of journalists and bloggers.
The guests – famous bloggers Anton Nosik (Russia), Anton Merkurov (Russia), Alexander Alimov (Latvia), Gilad Halpern (Israel) among them – toured the Artsakh frontline, visited number of border settlements.
On the final day of the forum, the bloggers adopted a statement, which reads as follows:
We, the participants of the International forum of bloggers taking place in Artsakh,
Highlighting the importance of exercising and protecting fundamental human rights the freedom of expression and the freedom of movement;
Emphasizing the common responsibility of the international community on the matter;
Taking into account the irreplaceable role of media representatives in providing objective information;
Expressing full support to the people of the Republic of Artsakh,
Express confidence that steps of any authority aimed at limiting the exercise by the media representatives of their right to the freedom of expression and the freedom of movement,
as well as the policy of persecution over the exercise of those rights are the gross violation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms;
Condemn all the violations and limitations of the freedom of expression and freedom of movement,
State that this international forum, taking place in the self-determined Republic of Artsakh, is the best response to the steps aimed at limiting and prosecuting for freedom of expression and freedom of movement;
Assure that each of us is determined to contribute to the implementation of fundamental human rights, as well as to advocating for peace.
To remind, the organization of the forum came a month after the extradition of Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin from Belarus to Azerbaijan. Lapshin was wanted by Azerbaijan after visiting the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) and criticizing the Azerbaijani leadership.
Azerbaijani prosecutors launched a criminal case into “repeated public anti-state calls” and “illegal crossing of Azerbaijan’s state border,” punishable with a prison term of five to eight years.
The extradition and persecution against Lapshin was widely slammed as a gross violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of speech and movement.