Azeri Parliament Calls for Tighter Media Controls

BAKU (Reuters)–Azerbaijan’s parliament–the Melli Mejlis–on Tuesday called for tighter controls on the media only three months after the state eliminated censorship in response to international pressure.

The rubber-stamp body–overwhelmingly dominated by supporters of strongman President Haydar Aliyev–requested that the information ministry take “all legal measures” to block the publishing of “unconfirmed and provocative materials.”

It also called on state media to “take all legal measures to defend the honor and dignity of the president and guarantee political stability.”

The order was part of a package of measures adopted after a weekend of rallies protesting Aliyev’s rule.

Aliyev withdrew strict press censorship in August in response to international criticism in the run-up to the October 11 presidential election. He won 76.1 percent of the vote–but opposition parties claim the election was rigged.

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