RFE/RL freelancer Khadija Ismayilova
recently spoke at London's Frontline club, where she said that attempts to publicly discredit her were in retaliation for her journalism.
Ismayilova described several other cases in the past few years in which critical journalists in Azerbaijan were subject to defamation campaigns that were publicized in government-associated media. She decried the situation in which reporters, faced with such harassment, are pushed toward activism to protect their rights to personal security and free speech.
Ismayilova has repeatedly called on Azeri authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of her case and arrest perpetrators. The case involves installing and concealing a camera in her apartment, communicating a written threat, taking and publishing unauthorized photoraphs and a video, and establishing a website with a bogus identity, hosted by a U.S. company, to post the images.
The Azeri government reacted to the case in a statement published in the official press on March 15 that condemned "the interference into the privacy" of Ismayilova. Presidential advisor Elnur Aslanov pledged that the country's law enforcement would do "their utmost to expose and punish those standing behind this dirty act."
Ismayilova has won numerous awards
for her investigative reports into official corruption in Azerbaijan, including the finances and assets of President Ilham Aliyev and his family members.
for a podcast of the Frontline discussion, organized by the European Stability Initiative
, in which several panelists assessed the European Union's record in enforcing democracy and human rights commitments in Azerbaijan.