Intimidation of journalists in Armenia and Azerbaijan shows the importance of a free press in times of war

Not only is it critical for rooting out incompetence and corruption, questioning the necessity of an armed conflict is crucial, writes Borzou Daragahi 

The aftermath of shelling in Ganja, Azerbaijan, at the weekend
The aftermath of shelling in Ganja, Azerbaijan, at the weekend(EPA-EFE)
War is raging in the Caucasus and, as usual, honest journalists and activists seeking to tell the truth or express opposition are paying the price.

In both Armenia and Azerbaijan, news outlets, journalists and peace advocates have been intimidated and threatened by government officials; and even when officials back off, online boosters fill the void with vile threats and harassment.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a journalist, activist or rights defender, as long as you’re in favour of peace you’re immediately sidelined,” said Arzu Geybulla, an Istanbul-based Azerbaijani journalist. “It’s very hard to be covering the war independently.”

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