Address of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev to the mass media workers of the Azerbaijan Republic - July 21, 2003

Dear mass media workers!

I congratulate you heartily with a remarkable holiday - day of a National Press and I convey my best wishes to each of you.

During all history the Azerbaijan press always proclaimed the progressive social ideals, made its contribution to the realization of the loftiest wishes of our people, played an important role in the strengthening of its ideas and independence, progress of cultural wealth as well as the formation of the national consciousness and culture.

Our press has exceptional services in strengthening of traditions of statehood, conformation of democratic principles in our country which has restored its state independence at the end of XX century, and increased the international authority of Azerbaijan.

The process of establishment of democratic, legal and secular state is carried out in Azerbaijan successfully. In the Constitution of the republic was fixed a freedom of speech and idea - one of the main principles of democracy. In our country the demands of political pluralism are observed steadily. The guarantee of a freedom of word, ideas and belief, creation of necessary conditions for all-round development of mass media and their free activity - are the important objectives, standing before me as a leader of the Azerbaijan state. After gaining of independence, the problems of mass media taking a peculiar place in socialization of actual problems of society in our informational century, in regulation of social relations between various levels of population, in the process of fusion into the civil world were always in the focus of state. Today hundreds of press organs, news agencies, TV radio companies carry out independent activity in Azerbaijan and make up reliable media network of our country. Favorable conditions are created for free activity of press making use of the world experience, all necessary steps are undertaken for the improvement of material and technical condition of mass media, increase of professional levels of journalists and full guarantee of their rights. During the past years obstacles influencing negatively to the development of mass media were removed with decrees and orders of the Azerbaijan President, state regulation of press was abolished, multi-billion debts of newspapers to the state publishing house were frozen for the improvement of its financial position, additional privileged credits were delivered and other measures were carried out. Our state concerns positively to the establishment of the Press Council as a public body organized on social principles and attaches great importance to its activity. By the establishment of the National Television and Radio Council in our country and its regulation at a modern level, provided the activity of electronic mass media in accordance with the demands of legislation.

The journalism is a profession demanding enormous work, special efforts, professional approach, the ability to estimate fairly the events and to analyze the processes properly. As the President of Azerbaijan, I always highly appreciated hard and responsible labour of press workers, I took care and will constantly do it in the solution of problems arising on the way of development of press.

The main problem of a free press as an indication of the level of democracy in every country consists in the further deepening of political pluralism, freedom of speech and idea, maintenance of informational needs of citizens. But alongside with it, the press should be able to reflect as a mirror the existing defects in society, to become an active participant of the process of construction of the democratic state, to be the herald of the truth and be the means calling the people to high ideals, humane acts and mobilize them.

On this significant day I want to express my confidence that the Azerbaijan press, which has passed substantial and glorious way of development, differing with its progressive traditions and the army of journalists representing it will always value the honour of a free word, speaking with verily state and civil position in bringing to notice of community the events occurring in our country and on international arena, in particular in bringing to the international community essential problems of Azerbaijan, will always manifest objectivity, high professionalism and principality.

Heydar Aliyev, the President of Republic of Azerbaijan.

Translated from newspaper "Azerbaijan".