A government program in Azerbaijan to provide free state-constructed apartments to journalists appears to be securing the gratitude of recipients. But it is also generating some hard feelings among those who are not the beneficiaries of Baku’s largesse.
The second phase of the program concluded in late July, with President Ilham Aliyev presiding over a ceremony in which apartments were allotted to 255 journalists in a newly constructed building. In 2013, authorities distributed 156 apartments in another building.
Aliyev said that a third building is expected to be constructed specifically for journalists by 2020.
Azerbaijani authorities in recent years have pressed ahead with a far-reaching crackdown on free speech, stifling independent media outlets in the process. Free speech advocates deride the give-away, describing it as a bribe designed to ensure that journalists living in state-provided homes provide favorable coverage of government policies.
To read the full story
Lamiya Adilgizi is a freelance Azerbaijani reporter.