May 1, in a letter addressed to Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for his attention to the dismal record of press freedom in Azerbaijan as the country enters the final weeks prior to hosting the European Games.
Referring to the Olympic Charter and the section "Media Coverage of the Olympic Games", CPJ urged the organizers of the Games to ensure "the fullest coverage by different media and the widest possible audience".
CPJ is concerned that given the country's record of harsh punishments handed over to local journalists (at least eight are currently in jail according to CPJ research) for an unbiased coverage of the country, the on-going crackdown against its critics, and as one out 10 most cesored countries, President Hickey should use this "unique opportunity to influence the Azerbaijani government and help improve press freedom conditions in the country."
"We ask that you use your office to speak up in defense of press freedom and engage with Azerbaijani authorities, calling on them to create a more tolerant atmosphere for the press", writes the letter.
European Games begin on June 12 and will last until June 28. Some 6000 atlhetes are going to be compete.