Baku hosted a seminar on “Freedom of the press, manipulation of thoughts, threats to the media, and the role of social networks” Part 1

A round-table talk on “Freedom of the press, manipulation of thoughts, threats to the media, and the role of social networks” was held by the organization of Azerbaijan Section of International Society for Human Rights

Yadigar Mammadli, Head of Information Support Department of Baku International Center of Multiculturalism, Umud Rahimoglu, Chairman of International Eurasian Press Fund, Gennadi Kaunov, Representative of Moldova International Human Rights Society, Nabat Ganiyeva, member of Dilara Alieva Azerbaijani Society for the Protection of Women’s Rights, media representatives and civil society activists attended the event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Saadat Bananyarly, head of the Azerbaijan Section for Human Rights Society, said that information is the most serious weapon of the 21st century and its right use is the priority for civil societies: “Freedom of speech is one of the supports of each society. Every citizen should have the freedom to learn about what is happening in his country, as well as the world, and to react to what is happening. After Azerbaijan gained independence freedom of speech has always been in the spotlight. The role of sound communication is undeniable in independent state-building. Today, Azerbaijan has the media that is controlled by both the state and the private sector. With its pros and cons, the media has gone a certain development way. New communication trends have been formed with the penetration of social networks into our lives, and I think that with the development of civic journalism, every person’s responsibility for information is crucial for the sound and sustainable information environment  of the country”.

Yadigar Mammadli spoke mainly about social networking, civic journalism, the impact of trolls on social networks: “Today social networks have been turned into main news sources for many of us. Media organizations are now taking full advantage of the potential of social networks. Today, there is almost no media structure in Azerbaijan without Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube account. However, this should not mean that print media is completely out of order. Looking at trends in the world, we can see that in recent years, there is a greater interest in the printed version of the world’s most known newspapers. Print media is also important for history. When we investigate one period, we first look through the newspapers of that period. Though smart phones can fit the whole world into our hands, it is not a sustainable source of information. An instant error in the international internet space can destroy millions of news at once. From this point, print media is extremely important in terms of stable image of the country’s life. ”

Yadigar Mammadli also spoke about the role of social networks in the information space and said that Twitter is more popular in developed societies: “Today, politicians share their decisions as well as their views on any issue via Twitter. This pushes former briefing and press conferences into the background. Western countries, including US administration officials, use this practice widely. Then come Facebook and Instagram. In many countries, people get more information from Facebook and Instagram. Azerbaijan also belongs to this category ”.

Moldova representative Gennady Kaunov spoke about the Moldovan model of the impact of new trends on the media. He said that the situation of the media in post-Soviet space is the same, so the innovations and problems on the agenda are very similar.

Then the event continued in an interactive manner. The participants discussed how they receive the news, how it is defined, and the pros and cons of social networks.