Monday, 30 March 2015 11:03

The press has already reported that on March 18-23, Yerevan hosted the
5th International Media Forum "At the Foot of Ararat", in which over
200 journalists from 34 countries participated. About 30 participants
of the forum, representing 12 countries, expressed their wish to
arrive in Artsakh and to get acquainted with the current situation
in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

Within three days of stay in Artsakh, they met with the President and
visited a number of objects, allowing them to have a certain idea
of the situation in the Republic and the current public-political
processes here.

As soon as the foreign journalists left the NKR, they found themselves
in the... infamous "black list" of Azerbaijan, which includes
persons, whose entry into the country is prohibited. According to the
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's spokesman, the visits of journalists
to Nagorno Karabakh without the consent of Azerbaijan amount to the
violation of the law on the state border of the country. Besides his
ridiculous accusation against the foreign mass media representatives,
he presented a set of equally absurd accusations against the NKR: "In
these territories, along with the martial law, human trafficking, arms
smuggling, drug production and trafficking, training of terrorists and
other illegal activities are implemented". He presented hypocritically
this lie as concern about the security of the journalists.

We should note that creating its "black list" of persona non grata,
which includes foreign statesmen and politicians, political analysts
and experts-conflictologists, culture and mass media representatives,
who have visited Artsakh, Azerbaijan primarily pursued the main goal
- to prevent the visit to the NKR by the persons who can express an
objective opinion about Nagorno Karabakh. Or, this discriminatory
measure on restricting the freedom of movement of foreign citizens and
their acquisition of objective information about the real situation
in the NKR is based on Azerbaijan's policy of isolation of Nagorno
Karabakh from the outer world. Frankly speaking, this Jesuit step had
not and could not have a proper effect. This is clearly evidenced by
the fact that the number of foreign nationals, declared "undesirable
persons" by official Baku, is increasingly growing - today, it is
approaching already to 400. As a rule, these actions of the Azerbaijani
authorities cause no other reaction by the people included in the
"black list" of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry than perplexity,
conviction and irony. Most of them admitted that they did not worry
what people thought about them in Azerbaijan. In other words, official
Baku, which is afraid of the truth about Artsakh, cannot block the
access to it with prohibitive measures.

As is known, in the recent years, the authoritarian leadership of
Azerbaijan has been sharply criticized by international structures for
the suppression of democratic rights in this country, in particular,
of the freedom of speech. However, the steps of the Baku regime to
infringine on the freedom of foreign journalists and to obstruct their
professional activities testify to the expansion of the geographical
boundaries of the Azerbaijani authoritarianism. We believe this
should be also adequately assessed by authoritative international
bodies as actions incompatible with the norms and principles of a
democratic society. By the way, the abovementioned rejects even the
very possibility to rank Azerbaijan to the states having the slightest
idea of democratic values.

Now as for the question who is really involved in international
drug trafficking and who really poses a threat of terrorism. Baku
has been long misinforming the international community with spreading
allegations on drug production and trafficking, terrorist training and
other nonsense. None of these and similar accusations has ever (!!!)
been confirmed by any fact, since they do not exist. Meanwhile,
ironically, the U.S. State Department has recently issued the
"Report on International Strategy for Drug Control - 2015", which
states that Azerbaijan continues to be a transit country for illicit
drug trafficking from Afghanistan and Iran to Europe and Russia. In
addition, the headquarters on the fight against terror, which is a
division of the National Security Council of Israel, has recently
issued information, advising the Israelis to refrain from visiting
Azerbaijan, due to the constant threat of Islamic terror. By the way,
of the post-Soviet Republics only Azerbaijan is included in this
list, comprising over 40 states and regions. In short, apparent is
the inconsistency of the argument of Azerbaijan, which thus tries to
present Nagorno Karabakh as a sort of marginal formation.

The development of the NKR as a sovereign democratic state increases
the interest of the international community for the ongoing
public-political processes here, which encourages politicians and
political scientists, as well as representatives of the press and
public organizations to visit the Republic. Yet another evidence to
this will be the coming, May 3 parliamentary elections in the NKR,
which will be observed by dozens of foreign observers and mass
media representatives. This means that the number of visitors to
Artsakh will continue to grow, which in no way can be hampered by
the Azerbaijani authorities who, due to their obscurantism, are not
able to understand the legality of formation and development of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Similarly, they are not able to understand
that issuing a permit for the entry of foreigners to Nagorno Karabakh
is exclusively the prerogative of the NKR authorities.

Leonid MARTIROSSIAN Editor-in-Chief of Azat Artsakh newspaper

From: A. Papazian