Saturday, October 02, 2010

How to build a smear campaign, Azeri style

Ali Karimli / Uncredited photo from Internet
Azerbaijani and Armenian media are caught in unique cooperation in building a smear campaign against one of the leaders of Azerbaijani opposition - Ali Karimli.

In upcoming November, it is the next parliamentary election in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Finally, after long intrigues and feud, two main (and last remaining) opposition parties were able to come together and form a block for joint participation in the election.

Ali Karimli is one of the leaders of this block and perhaps holds a record for being a focus of numerous smear campaigns sponsored by the government. He also penned the famous op-ed in the Washington Post this April.

Now, just a month left to the election, another smear campaign seems to unfold. In short, Ali Karimli is accused of bargaining with foreign powers - if they support him in the upcoming election, he is ready for every concession in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

But how to prove this and how to make people believe it?

First, you order "The 525th Newspaper" to publish an initial article, where the whole conspiracy is explained - Ali Kerimli will sell Karabakh if “foreign powers” will bring him to power.

525th is allegedly considered a “sold” media in Azerbaijan. “Sold media” is a media outlet that previously was independent, but then unofficially was bought by the government. Now it still poses as independent, but in fact, is controlled by the government.

Second,  Russian-language news website publishes an article based on and citing original material in 525 where they repeat the same allegation – Ali Karimli will sell (if not already sold) Karabakh in exchange for power. is a news website controlled by the Presidential Administration. Unofficially, among Azerbaijani journalists, it is referred to as “administration's website”.

Third, Armenian media outlets pick up the news and report – Azeri opposition leader is ready to any concession in Karabakh issue, reports Azeri media. PanArmenian for example, cites both 525th and

This part of the job is over. Now it is time to inform Azeri people of this evil conspiracy.

Finally, Azerbaijani TVs and other media step in: “Armenian media reports that Ali Karimli has pledged to western circles that he was ready to any concessions in Karabakh issue in exchange for support in the upcoming election.”

And our beloved 525th doesn’t also forget about its duty to inform the public about this shocking news – and not surprisingly, it cites Azeri-Press Agency citing Armenian media, but forgets to say that Armenian media cites citing 525th.


  1. His real name is Karimlian, according to one source's source's source.

  2. Thank you, dear Ali, a brilliant observation, I believe, there will be a lot of such kind and probably even worse...

  3. Thank you Ali. I shared your article with my danish friends. I think your analysis is very real from a real life. I just so sorry about, that this kind of campaign is performed in our Mother Land.

  4. This is too funny and so true! I can't comment on how the media in Azerbaijan report, but definitely your note about Armenian media picking up the story is true. I work in Armenian online media and unfortunately, too often we just republish materials and don't check the facts or follow up on a story. And it goes like this back and forth, most likely, between Armenian and Azerbaijani media :(


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