Society 17:35 04/04/2013

IWPR: Azerbaijani authorities are concerned about activity in Facebook

The social networking site Facebook is booming in Azerbaijan, where more than a million people now use the site. They include a new generation of opposition activists who are seen as a challenge by officials accustomed to controlling the media, Shahla Sultanova writes on the site of British IWPR.

According to the article some officials have proposed restricting use of the site, but experts say Facebook is almost impossible to regulate unless it is closed down altogether.

“Facebook’s mobilising power was seen in January, when the first demonstration organised exclusively online took place. The protest followed the death of Jeyhun Gubadov, an 18-year-old conscript soldier who died just three months into his military service.
His mother was officially told that he died of heart failure, but pictures of his body taken by family members showed clear signs of injury. The images spread online, together with pictures of other soldiers who died in non-combat situations, and videos of their grieving parents, causing widespread anger,” the article reads.

According to the author the Facebook page called “Stop Soldier Deaths” called for a protest on January 12, and within days more than 17,000 people had clicked to say they would attend.

“Although the actual protest was not that large – journalists estimated that 3,000 people came – Professor Katy Pearce of the University of Washington said that in a society like Azerbaijan’s, clicking “attending” on a protest event was a significant step in itself,” the article says.

“In today’s social media world, where your ‘attendance’ is visible to the public and the government, this sign of support is meaningful,” she said.

According to Sultanova, it was in any case a large protest by Azerbaijani standards. In spring 2012, the opposition Popular Front and Musavat parties called for protests on the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest. Around 1,000 people attended the first demonstration.

“When fines were imposed on 22 participants in the January 12 demonstration, social networking sites again showed their power with the “five qepik” campaign, in which sympathisers paid a tiny amount each towards the penalties, which ranged between 300 and 600 manats, or 380-765 US dollars,” the article says.

“More than 2,000 people donated during the campaign, the majority of them Facebook and Twitter users,” Pearce said.
According to the article, the government used evidence gathered from Facebook to justify the arrest of three members of the new opposition youth group NIDA on charges of planning violent protests. Their arrests on March 7 came just three days before another Facebook-organised protest was due.

The author writes that, according to the web statistics site socialbakers.com, Azerbaijan had 1,013,000 Facebook users in Azerbaijan in February, over 12 per cent of the entire population, but heavily concentrated in Baku.

“The popularity of Facebook gives anti-government activists access to the kind of audience that the opposition newspapers Azadliq and Yeni Musavat, with a circulation of just 10,000, could never reach,” Sultanova writes.

As the article says, the authorities seem alarmed at the emergence of Facebook as a tool for activism.

“National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov has said telecoms companies should help monitor social networking sites, as they are being used to recruit extremists. And Ramiz Mehdiyev, head of the presidential administration, has alleged that certain international organisations are paying and organising young people via social networking sites,” the article says.

Immediately after the March 10 protest and the arrest of the three NIDA activists, Fazail Aghamali, a parliamentarian from the government-aligned Ana Vatan party, said officials should examine whether social networking sites were a threat to national security.
Pearce said that to date, the Azerbaijani government did not seem to have a firm policy on how to deal with the challenges that Facebook might pose to it. The government uses social media to promote itself as well, she said.

However, she added that as with the recent arrests of NIDA members, “information disclosed on Facebook or any internet site – regardless of privacy settings – can be used against people offline.

“Content monitoring and deep packet inspection [intense monitoring of web traffic] is not impossible,” she said.

On March 10, in Baku, a mass protest against the deaths of soldiers in the army in non-combat situation was held. The rally was dispersed by the police; at least 60 people were detained. There were about 3000 protesters at Fountain Square. The number of participants increased due to the relatives of the recruits killed in the Azerbaijani army. Earlier, a similar protest was held on January 12 in 2013 and was also dispersed by the police. Both protests were organized in social networks.



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

13:56
Death toll from Indonesia quake rises to 310
The death toll of the 5.6-magnitude earthquake hitting Indonesia's West Java province increased to 310, and 24 others were still missing, an...
13:46
Opposition MP reacts to war of words between Armenian, Azeri leaders
MP Tigran Abrahamyan of the opposition Pativ Unem faction has reacted to a war of words between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and...
13:15
Turkish president, Pakistani PM inaugurate navy corvette
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jointly inaugurated the latest corvette ‘PNS...
13:00
Azerbaijan must be held to account as war criminal, Armenian MP tells OSCE
Opposition Hayastan bloc MP Lilit Galstyan, a member of Armenia’s delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe...
12:30
Tokayev sworn in as Kazakhstan's leader
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who won the recent snap presidential election in Kazakhstan, took the oath to the people of the country and assumed the...
12:15
Artsakh army denies shooting at Azerbaijani positions
Artsakh’s Defense Ministry has denied the Azerbaijani reports of a ceasefire breach by its forces on Friday as disinformation....
11:58
Armenia's Erik Israyelyan crowned world boxing champion
Armenian boxer Erik Israyelyan earned a gold medal at the 2022 IBA Youth World Boxing Championships in La Nucía, Spain on Friday. He...
11:41
Armenian security chief due in France, Germany
Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council Armen Grigoryan will pay a working visit to France and Germany on November 28-29, his office...
11:31
Today's matches at Qatar 2022
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is heading into Day 7 on Saturday, November 26. World Cup games today (Yerevan time) Group D: Tunisia vs...
11:15
Azerbaijani troops open fire at Armenian border positions at night
The Defense Ministry of Armenia reported another ceasefire violation by Azerbaijani troops last night. “Azerbaijan’s armed...
11:00
Converse Bank customer wins Visa campaign
Converse Bank customer became the winner of Visa x FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM campaign. He won a ticket to the finals of the FIFA World Cup in...
17:00
Jennifer Lopez deletes all Instagram posts
Without explanation, social media accounts for Jennifer Lopez have turned black and her widely followed Instagram was completely...
16:50
Political analyst: Azerbaijan interfering in Iran's domestic affairs
Armenian political analyst Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan says the Azerbaijani leader's latest statement on Iran amounts to an interference in the...
16:23
Rain, wet snow expected in Armenia
Precipitation is expected across Armenian on Friday and over the weekend, with wet snow in sight for mountainous regions. Fog is in the...
15:50
Azerbaijani troops open fire at civilians in Artsakh
The Azerbaijani military again opened fire at civilians carrying out agricultural work in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) on Friday. An Artsakh...
15:35
Musk announces 'amnesty' for suspended Twitter accounts
New Twitter owner Elon Musk said Thursday that he is granting “amnesty” for suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict...
15:25
Today is legendary commander Monte Melkonian’s birthday
“If we lose Artsakh, we turn the final page of our people’s history…” November 25 marks the birthday anniversary of...
15:06
No Armenian-Azeri talks planned in Russia soon, Kremlin says
Moscow continues to assist Baku and Yerevan in resolving the conflict, but talks between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime...
14:36
Armenian opposition MP renews concerns over Lachin corridor
Armenian MP Tigran Abrahamyan of the opposition Pativ Unem faction has renewed his concerns about the possible shutdown of the Lachin corridor...
14:04
Artsakh denies shooting at Azerbaijani positions
Artsakh’s Defense Ministry has denied the Azerbaijani reports of a ceasefire breach by Armenian forces on Friday as disinformation....
13:35
Opposition MP Aram Vardevanyan steps down
Aram Vardevanyan has announced his decision to step down as an MP of the largest opposition Hayastan faction in the Armenian parliament....
13:15
Egg crisis hits UK stores
In Britain, the humble egg has fallen victim to an array of disruptions that’s led to empty shelves in some stores, Bloomberg...
12:58
Artsakh official: It's very important to live and create in your homeland especially during ordeal
Artsakh’s acting Foreign Minister David Babayan says it is very important for everyone to live and create in their country especially when...
12:36
World Cup 2022 matches today
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is heading into Day 6 with four matches scheduled for Friday, November 25. World Cup games today (Yerevan...
12:27
Armenian opposition calls special parliament session
The Armenian National Assembly will hold a special session called by the two opposition factions for December 2. MPs are set to debate a...
11:58
China reports new daily record Covid cases
China reported 32,943 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 24, of which 3,103 were symptomatic and 29,840 were asymptomatic, Reuters said on Friday,...
11:49
Rosa Linn and Malena to perform at Junior Eurovision in Yerevan
The Public Television of Armenia has revealed details about two interval acts of Junior Eurovision 2022. Rosa Linn will be the special...
11:35
Armenia reports fresh ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan
The Defense Ministry of Armenia reported another ceasefire violation by Azerbaijani troops late on Thursday. “Azerbaijan’s armed...
17:00
Johnny Depp to return to 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' as Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp will return to the Pirates of the Caribbean as Captain Jack Sparrow – five years on from the last film, The Sun reports....
16:45
Some opposition MPs may resign their seats, Khamoyan says
Some lawmakers from the opposition Hayastan bloc may decide to give up their parliament seats, Hayastan MP Agnesa Khamoyan told reporters...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}