Congratulations of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the representatives of press of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Baku, July 20, 2002

Distinguished representatives of the press!

I heartily congratulate you on the Day of National Press, July 22, and I convey my best wishes to each of you.

Since the day of its foundation the Azerbaijani press has covered a rich and glorious path of development and been the herald of progressive social ideals in all the times. Our press has always played an important role in strengthening the efforts of our people with rich historical traditions, in achieving freedom, independence and spiritual progress and in the formation of national identity, spirituality and culture.

After gaining independence, the Azerbaijani press, guided by national and global values serves as an important tool for democracy and transparency, it has an exclusive contribution to the implementation into life of the highest goals of our people.

Freedom of speech and thought has been reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan which has taken the road of construction of a democratic, legal and secular state. And the protection of this achievement, political pluralism is being ensured. A diversified system of press and information has been established in our country. Hundreds of press organs, agencies, broadcasters are forming a strong media network in our society. Despite some problems, the issues of development of the press in the 21st century are always in the sfocus of attention of the state. All necessary steps have been taken for the smooth work of the press for enriching its international experience, especially for improving its material-technical base, including the professional development and protection of the rights of journalists.

Journalism is not an ordinary profession; it requires great efforts, specialized knowledge. Azerbaijan always appreciates the work of journalists, does and will continue to do everything possible to solve the existing problems of the media.

Press should become an active participant of building an independent state, in deepening political pluralism and democracy, in meeting the needs of citizens for information, it should play an important role in removing the barriers in the advancement of the society forward. Each organ of media should be effectively involved in the building of an independent state, civil society, in the approval and protection of national and global values, in the implementation of reforms which ensure the development of the country, it should be a mirror of life, the herald of truth and should encourage and mobilize people to fight for high ideals, a humane civil and democratic society.

On this momentous day, I want to express my confidence that the Azerbaijani journalists with their rich and progressive traditions, will always hold high the professional honor, demonstrate objectivity, professionalism, positions of statehood and citizen and men of principle while conveying to the public the events in the country and in the world, in spreading information about these events, in analyzing them.

Heydar Aliyev,
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Translated from "Azerbaijan", July 22, 2002