Osman Gunduz, the President of Azerbaijan Internet Forum has told Baku-based Social Information Agency that the bloggers should register at the Ministry of Justice if they want to be regarded as journalists. Asked whether a blogger can be considered a journalist, Gunduz replied:
First of all, bloggers engaged in media sphere are automatically engaged in journalism. That is their activities are about journalism. But Azerbaijani legislature has already defined who is a journalist and according to that clause, [a blogger] is not considered a journalist despite engaging in journalist activities. Something like engaging in business activities, but in illegal business activities – it is an approximately similar approach. Bloggers engaged in media sphere are not considered journalist according to Azeri laws, because they have to be in newspaper staffs or to have contracts with media outlets. Therefore, we have prepared recommendations on how to obtain journalist status for those bloggers who report news in the media sphere. It is based on a voluntary mechanism. That is if a blogger wants to be regarded as a journalist, he should abide by some requirements. He should post his name, address and telephone number in his blog in order to show who is responsible for the writings. As mass media has some requirements and has to voluntarily register at the Ministry of Justice, thus the bloggers should do the same. Only after this, there can be judicial basis for a blogger to obtain a journalist status according to the mass media law.
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