Politik, Kultur, Geschichte, Wirtschaft, Internet und andere Aspekte über den Süd-Kaukasus // Politic, Culture, History, Economy, Internet And Other Aspects About South-Caucasus // Re-Blogged & Posted By Ralph Hälbig
Saturday, March 10, 2012
ARTICLE: Azeri Journalist Alleges Blackmail Attempt. By Karl Raher (foreignpolicyblogs.com)
Azerbaijan’s best-known journalist (who also happens to be Azerbaijan’s best journalist, period) alleged yesterday that she is being victimized in a blackmail attempt. Khadija Ismayilova, who writes for a number of publications and hosts the popular “After Work” radio show for RFE/RL’s Baku bureau, made the allegations after receiving a letter containing photographs of a very personal and “intimate” nature.
According to Khadija, the envelope was postmarked in Moscow, and contained not only embarrassing photographs, but a note which read, “Whore, behave. Or you will be defamed.”
I’ve actually suspected long before now that something like this would happen to Khadija, given her tireless investigative journalism, which has included exposés of corruption at the very highest level of Azerbaijan’s government.
In a revealing exchange between President Aliyev and former US diplomat Matthew Bryza, the president complained bitterly to Bryza in 2008 about the RFE’s tone toward his administration in general and Khadija in particular:
“The President said that Radio Liberty has selected people only from the opposition to work in their bureau here. He said that the local editor Khadija Ismayilova is a long-time opposition activist who considers herself to be an enemy of the government.”
Dirty tactics against perceived opponents, as Khadija herself has pointed out in the last 24 hours, are not at all unusual in Azerbaijan, where honest, independent journalism is an exceedingly hazardous undertaking. Readers not aware of modern Azerbaijan’s distinction in this area might familiarize themselves with the murder of opposition journalist Elmar Huseynov in 2005 or the killing of Rafiq Tagi last year, or prosecutions of journalists such as Sakit Zahidov and Eynullah Fatullayev.
While the mysterious blackmail letter sent to Khadija was apparently from Moscow and not Baku, this is surely beside the point. The intent, if the letter is what Khadija claims it to be, is to silence one of Azerbaijan’s most courageous voices.
Authoritarian governments and their allies often resort to this sort of crude tactic to send a chilling message to political opponents and journalists. Vladimir Putin’s Russia, for example, has seen the release of a number of explicit, sexually-oriented videos of people such as Russian Newsweek editor Mikhail Fishman and satirist Viktor Shenderovich. Both men appeared on separate tapes with the same woman, who had managed by 2010 to entrap at least six opposition figures in this way. Fishman appeared on the tape to be using cocaine while enjoying the company of the scantily-clad young woman, since then identified as Ekaterina Gerasimova.
Back in Azerbaijan, Lider TV (owned by a cousin of President Aliyev) aired a similar tape last year of two opposition activists engaged in compromising sexual behavior, coincidentally during Azerbaijan’s “Arab Spring” unrest.
And in late 2010, Lider broadcast video tape of opposition newspaper editor Azer Ahmedov having graphic sex with someone other than his wife. Incredibly, Lider hyped the tape and urged viewers to watch the uncensored segment, which they referred to as “The Naked Truth of the Opposition,” on its “Seda” news program.
In a bizarre bit of political analysis, the announcer ponderously told viewers that the video was a result of “asymmetric policy from the West,” adding that “we have to show this to the Western world, especially to France, so they know that their methods are very close to our opposition.”
Yes, I know that’s a bagful of non sequiturs, but it’s also a typical example of the multi-year slander campaign against opposition parties that has rendered them a mute and ineffective force.
And now it’s Khadija’s turn. Never mind that she has a right to privacy, and never mind that she has already had to endure a number of hurtful insults over the years from a variety of sources.
Robert Coalson reports for RFE/RL that “at least two newspapers in Azerbaijan” are in possession of the photos. Mr Coalson does not say how they obtained the photos, but added at press time that “no one has published them.”
Frontline Georgia is a media club that aims to serve as a politically-neutral venue for journalists, public officials, students, intellectuals come together in a dialogue over media, social, political and cultural issues important for Georgia and the region. Frontline Georgia holds panel discussions, screenings, exhibitions, conferences and master classes.
Frontline Georgia’s mission is to contribute to quality journalism and exchange of views. Its Events Program will bring together the key players and thinkers in politics and the media and give a member an opportunity not only to hear from experts but to ask questions and contribute to the discussion in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
While there are other meeting places for important public discussions, Frontline Georgia is among the very few, where people from different ideological and political camps meet together. This neutrality has been one of the biggest achievements of the club, which operates in Georgia’s highly politicized and polarized social and media environment.
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Lohnenswert: Dokumentarfilm von Ruth OlshanWIE LUFT ZUM ATMENist eine Reise in ein kleines Land zwischen Asien und Europa, das zu unrecht zwischen den Grenzen der Kulturen vergessen wird: Georgien, das hier in seiner ganzen Schönheit, seinem Zauber und seiner Vielfältigkeit eingefangen ist. Der Dokumentarfilm von Ruth Olshan entdeckt vor allem die beeindruckende Musik Georgiens, in der die kulturelle Identität seiner Bewohner tief verwurzelt ist. In den fast verloren gegangenen und wieder entdeckten Gesängen und Tänzen, die die UNESCO auf die Liste des Weltkulturerbes gesetzt hat, meint man Stimmen und Lieder aus einer vergangenen Zeit zu hören.
Musik sei für sie so wichtig wie die Luft zum Atmen, erzählt eine Protagonistin im Film und man versteht sie sofort. Ruth Olshans vielschichtiges Porträt eines Landes, seiner Menschen und ihrer Musik zeigt, was das Besondere an der georgischen Musik ist: die Lebendigkeit der Folklore im Alltag, die aufrecht erhaltene Tradition, die in den Texten gespeicherten Mythen, das soziale Erleben der Musik, die regionale Unterschiedlichkeit der Kultur, und die Musiker, die die Musik heute auch in Pop- und Jazzbereiche weiterführen."Großartige Bilder, sympathische Protagonisten und schöne, unvertraute Musik!" (filmdienst)
"Ruth Olshan hat einen sehr feinen Musikfilm gemacht, der einen Ort 90 Minuten zum Klingen bringt" (zitty)
"Eine berückende Hommage an ein Volk, dessen große Kultur durchströmt wird von Gesang" (Rheinischer Merkur)
"Folklore kann ganz schön cool sein!" (Die Welt)
"Ein ‚Hit’ für musikbegeisterte Weltreisende im Kino!" (programmkino.de)
Ruth Olshan in her film portrays musicians who work with different approaches: a male choir searching and cultivating old folk songs in the Caucasus region, a female choir, a school dance company and musicians who enhance Georgian folk music. There is a common denominator that links the diverse protagonists in Olshan’s film: Singing, dancing and music are crucial elements of their lifestyle. Music is as important as “air to breath,” explains the director of the female choir . The subtle camera work discreetly catches moments and spontaneous encounters, showing that the rehearsals and the singing brings moments to these women where they are taken away from their normal course of life. For life in Rustavi, a small town near Tiflis, seems bleak. The industry is dead, the unemployment rate is enormous. You ask yourself how people can live. The choir women’s beauty and positive energy exude an affirmative sign of life, even in mournful moments. Men and women sing and dance both joy and sorrow off their chest. In Georgia, music seems to be omnipresent, almost existential. Even if a young singer does not think folk music is “sexy”, he still gets hooked. It gets under his skin. The film pays tribute to this fascination, vitality, and spiritedness.
Verantwortlich: Ralph Hälbig, Heinzelmannweg 3, 04277 Leipzig, Deutschland, mobil: 01799094675 e-mail: Ralph.Haelbig@mdr.de and Ralph.Haelbig@googlemail.com
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