Today, Azerbaijan saw yet again, how far the government can go in its quest for achieving full power over freedom of speech in this country.
"The site was closed for reconstruction work and will resume its work in a week" stated Anar Mammedxanov, a parliament member in his official statement on the closure of one of the biggest news portals in Azerbaijan in Russuan and English languages- www.day.az (www.today.az).
The only problem being that once the portal resumes its work it will no longer be the same. We already saw what happened to ANS (Azerbaijan News Service Agency) after it was shut down. Nothing good thats for sure!
The reasons for the closure are mixed. One of the arguments is that the site was closed due to the pressure from the Russian government on Azerbaijan especially following the publication of news on the war in Georgia this August. This is not a surprise since Russia has significant sphere of influence in this region and while it (influence) is camouflaged under the term of 'balanced politics', there is more power politics in play rather than balanced.
Some argue that it is the interview the website published with Berezovski who criticized the President of Russian Federation- Vladimir Putin of corruption and having accumulated 40 billion dollars in foreign accounts.
Whatever the argument maybe, the picture is quite clear in Azerbaijan- the more you show you are different from the flock of sheep in this country the more punishment you get. Some get arrested, some get banned, some get silenced forever.
The question is: how long this is going to continue and how far the ruling government is going to take this fight (but thats too well said, in this case its more of stabbing in the back) against freedom and democracy and all the followers of these ideologies?
Waiting it out is one solution but what if it is going to take generations to wait it out?