“Hunger strikes great for dramatic effect, but rarely bring desired result”

Thu 10 Jan 2019 05:37 GMT | 09:37 Local Time

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This headline refers to an article published by Vikram Doctor, Editor of The Economic Times, an Indian-based daily newspaper, in 2016. Given the fact that anti-Azerbaijani forces have been exaggerating the imprisoned Mehman Huseynov’s alleged hunger strike in recent days, one cannot overlook the abovementioned-article by journalist Vikram Doctor. It should be taken into account that the hunger strike is a traditional form of protest in India.

Although numerous cases of gross human rights violations, including the breach of journalists’ rights are ignored in the world, attempts to exaggerate non-journalist Mehman’s alleged hunger strike are nothing more than a political drama. Previously, there were hunger strikers in prisons in Azerbaijan or other countries. Why their cases were not overdramatized?

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), from January 1 to December 1, 2018, as many as 63 journalists were killed while doing their jobs around the world, a 15-percent increase from last year. The number of fatalities rises to 80 when including amateur or citizen journalists.

Some 348 journalists were arrested worldwide in 2018. Has Republican Congressman Marco Rubio ever tweeted about at least one of them? Has The Washington Post’s editorial board ever published an article about each of the countries where such cases are commonplace? Of course not.

According to an international NGO, called the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than half of the world's imprisoned journalists are held in China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

Professional journalist Jamal Khashoggi was butchered alive or tortured to death at the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul a few months ago. However, in this case, circles that cannot be indifferent to Mehman’s alleged hunger strike or “hunger drama”, prefer to remain silent and demonstrate double-standard approach.

In its response to Q&A inquiry a few days ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France said it is following Mehman Huseynov’s case with the utmost attention. So far, the government of France has ordered the arrests of 4,523 people by ignoring the rightful demands of “yellow vests” (“gilets jaunes”). Of them, 4,500 people are still in jail. Eric Drouet, one of the leaders of the "yellow vest" anti-government demonstrations, was arrested by French police, and he is now charged with carrying a weapon. France’s economy minister and other officials have announced that everyone who violated the laws and committed violence against the police will be severely punished. However, the extreme violence of French police against “yellow vests” is also a matter of debate. Maybe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan just needs to react to massive human rights violations in France. Why should the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation not raise this issue at the upcoming winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)? Here the logic is that Eric Drouet cannot violate French laws, but Mehman, his brother Emin and supporter Khadija can violate Azerbaijani laws.

Journalist Ján Kuciak, who was investigating political corruption in Slovakia, an EU member state, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were brutally murdered in February 2018.

Did anyone hear about Viktoria Marinova? Viktoria Marinova, a journalist, TV host in Bulgaria, an EU member-state, was raped and killed for investigating EU funds misuse in the country.

Let's admit that numerous articles on corruption-related cases are published in the Azerbaijani media. No journalists have yet been tortured in Azerbaijan for such articles.

Some 47 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992. The number of journalists killed in this country reached four.

Myanmar, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the West for campaigning for democracy, jailed two Reuters journalists for investigating violence against Rohingya Muslims.  It seems that Reuters, which shapes the world news agenda, is more interested in news about Azerbaijan.

The abovementioned facts once again show that attempts to introduce non-journalist Mehman Huseynov as a journalist and dramatize his alleged hunger strike are nothing but biased and double standards.

Azerbaijan has already developed a “necessary immune system” to prevent such provocations. Preventive measures, meetings of representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office and civil society representatives with the prisoner [Mehman Huseynov], the spread of his photos, as well as the confirmation of the fact that he eats foiled the pre-planned “drama”.

In the words of Indian journalist Vikram Doctor, hunger strikes rarely produce a desired result.




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