The dictatorial regime of Ilham Aliyev, a throwback to the Soviet era, clings to primitive methods to block accurate news, especially relating to imprisonment of Islamic movement activists, from reaching the people. Islamazari, one of the most popular websites in Azerbaijan is the frequent victim of such attacks, the latest being just two days ago. Such tactics will backfire on the regime.
Sunday, January 31, 2016, 09:17 EST
One of the most popular news websites in Azerbaijan Republic, www.islamazeri.az issued a statement on January 28, 2016 regarding unprecedented cyber-attacks and blockade of its website in the country.
According to Islamazeri, since January 26 access to its website has been blocked. People inside the country that have become very attached to the website for reliable and not easy to access information flooded management offices with inquiries as to why they could not access it.
Over the past three months Islamazeri has been under unprecedented attack.
The Internet blockade of Islamazeri comes as no surprise, since the website reports objectively on the Islamophobic policies of the dictatorial regime. Islamazeri’s danger to the unelected Aliyev regime is due to the fact that it is a point of reference for news on the Islamic movement for all segments of Azerbaijan’s population. The website managed to become one of the most popular Internet resources on current affairs analysis and news on subjects often neglected by others such as Islamic political prisoners.
In November 2015 the official Facebook page of Islamazeri with 17,000 subscribers was hacked and immediately after the Nardaran massacre of November 26, 2015, its hacked Facebook page was used to decimate false and provocative “news” in order to portray the website as extremist.
Also, during the massacre in Nardaran, the website was hacked and access to it blocked for several days as the Aliyev regime was arresting Islamic activists from all over Azerbaijan.
The illegitimate regime often attempts to project itself as a “bastion of free speech”, but this primitive campaign has no credibility within or outside Azerbaijan. Annual report on freedom of expression in 2015 by Freedom House labeled Azerbaijan as a country with no freedom of expression.
Local journalists are frequently arrested and imprisoned for many years, as is the case with Khadija Ismayilova who uncovered several stolen assets of the ruling family.
In August 2011, the Aliyev regime arrested the Editor-in-Chief of Islamazeri, Ramin Bayramov, on fabricated charges of “drugs and weapons possession.” Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International have recognized the arrest of Bayramov as politically motivated. He was released from prison after eighteen months.
In 1436 AH, the Internet blockade of news websites is an outdated tactic that rarely produces the desired results. It often generates greater popularity for the blocked website. The primitive nature of the Aliyev regime, however, does not allow it to conduct the media war through content; it is forced to adopt these outdated methods.