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  1. Lragir, newspaper, legal action, March 1, 1996
    A Yerevan court suspended the publication of the independent daily Lragir for three months.

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Introduction


Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Caucasian republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have declared their desire to model themselves after Western European societies, with free-market economies and democratic government. But their passage from communism to a new social order has been rife with contradictions. In the current transition period, leaders of both countries display authoritarian tendencies, resulting in an ambiguous and sometimes surreal climate for the media:

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Censorship Plagues Press in Armenia, Azerbaijan, CPJ Reports



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Introduction

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Caucasian republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have declared their desire to model themselves after Western European societies, with free - market economies and democratic government. But their passage from communism to a new social order has been rife with contradictions. In the current transition period, leaders of both countries display authoritarian tendencies, resulting in an ambiguous and sometimes surreal climate for the media:

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Azerbaijan's Media Navigate a Legal Maze


Editors of Baku's leading newspapers were thrown into turmoil in early November 1996. The Milli Medjlis had just amended the law on mass media to require licensing in addition to registration with the Ministry of Justice before newspapers could begin, or continue, operating. Fourteen chief editors of newspapers and news agencies gathered in December to demand clarification. "We hoped for some positive changes when we heard that parliament would consider amendments and modifications," the editors said in a statement to the Milli Medjlis. "But we got confused when we read the text..." The editors asked: What agency would issue the newly required licenses? What would be the criteria? Could the licenses be revoked?


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Key Media Officials in Azerbaijan

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Armenian Officials Tout Press Freedom But Bully the Press

There are two views of the press in Armenia today. The first holds that the press is entirely free to report as it chooses. The second is that the press is irresponsible. One thing is certain: In the absence of censorship, Armenian officials resort to verbal pressure and sometimes physical retribution, to knock journalists into line.


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Armenia's New Journalists

The collapse of Soviet-style journalism has brought a new type of writer to the fore-youthful, enthusiastic, but often without training or experience. A problem in Armenian journalism is the need to replace Soviet-era training with new methods. Ruben A. Satyan says he assigns new recruits at Vremya to senior editors for on-the-job training. Astghik Gevorkian, chair of the refashioned Soviet-era Union of Journalists, says journalism departments in state educational institutions have been unable to adjust to new conditions because their professors are holdovers from the Communist era.

The smell of oil, profits, and risk hang heavily over Baku. To the Western visitor, this port city looks like a boom town. Azerbaijan has discovered new oil reserves in the Caspian Sea which may be nearly as great as those of Kuwait. And outsiders are rushing to town to pump oil and get rich quick, or to service ³the oilies² who are doing the pumping. Because of oil, Baku is now the most prosperous city in the Caucasus.
Cut It Out: Notes from An Azerbaijani Censor

A 1993 censor's log book, revealing the interplay between censors and the cuts they made, has been circulating among Baku editors. Some extracts from the purloined document:
³24/VIII/93
³An article cut from Azadliq. It said that S. Husseinov demanded the resignation of President Aliyev at his press conference at Ganja. If you see such information in other newspapers, cut it out immediately.