How journalists can apply for inclusion in Media Register (INTERVIEW)
News.Az presents the interview of Jahangir Hasanli, Head of the Media Register Service of the Media Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MEDIA), with APA news agency.
Q: The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan has recently made a decision on the approval of the form of the Media Register certificate. Today, the form of the journalist’s card, the amount of fee required for its acquisition and replacement, as well as the rule for the use of appropriate funds were also approved. After all this, can we consider the stage of creating a legal framework for the formation of the Media Register to be finished?
A: Upon the presidential decree “On the implementation of the Law “On Media” and the regulation of several issues arising from it”, the relevant institutions, including the Media Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MEDIA), were tasked to create the Media Register and ensure its activities.
After the adoption by the Cabinet of Ministers of the decision on the approval of the form of the journalist’s card, the amount of fee required for its acquisition and replacement, as well as the rule for the use of appropriate funds, the tasks set to create a relevant legal framework can be considered to be implemented.
The next stage provides for the tasks to launch the Register with an internet information resource and ensure its integration with the information systems and resources of other state bodies. Currently, this process is ongoing in a prompt manner, and we believe that technical and organizational issues related to the software of the Register will be solved in the coming days, and it will be launched.
Q: Will media entities and journalists be able to apply for inclusion in the Register in the coming days?
A: After the Media Register is launched, both media entities and journalists will be able to submit their applications in line with the relevant rules. But in this case, there is an important point that should be taken into account seriously. As is known, the Law “On Media” and “Rules for maintaining the Media Register” require that a journalist, who applied for inclusion in the Media Register, needs to have his/her employment contract or civil law contract concluded with a media entity included in the Media Register. That is, before a journalist applies for inclusion in the Media Register, the media entity he/she works for or collaborates with shall obtain a Media Register certificate.
During the application, the labor contract will be integrated into the system from the e-government portal. If a journalist collaborates with a media entity under a civil law contract, then he/she is required to upload the document itself to the system along with the data about the contract. Thus, it will become clear with which media entity he/she collaborates and whether that entity is included in the Media Register, and an appropriate decision will be made.
Q: Are journalists required to apply for inclusion in the Media Register after media entities?
A: Journalists are required to submit their applications at the second stage. That is, to apply for inclusion in the Media Register, journalists must wait for the media entities they work for or collaborate with to obtain the relevant certificates.
Q: Will the application submission process be carried out in electronic form?
A: Yes, the application submission process will be carried out in full electronic form. Nevertheless, the practice shows that in some cases, difficulties are not excluded in the exchange of certain information during the process of integration through the e-government portal. This is due to some objective reasons.
Thus, the relevant systems contain information about the period after a certain date. In such cases, an application can submit the documents on the non-integrated information to the Agency in a file folder in accordance with the law.
Q: What else is required for a journalist to be included in the Media Register?
A: These requirements are reflected in Article 74.2 of the Law “On Media”, and Article 6.6 of the “Rules for maintaining the Media Register” envisage certain cases for a possible refusal to include journalists in the Media Register.
Q: What about those who will not be included in the Media Register and will not receive a journalist’s card?
A: In order for a person to act as a journalist, it is not mandatory to include him/her in the Media Register. In other words, a card that we will issue does not confirm that the person is a journalist, it just indicates that the Media Register contains information about him/her. That is, this card should not be considered an official professional criterion or a document that excludes other cards.
Media entities are free to issue press cards to their employees. In a word, the journalists, who are not included in the Media Register and given appropriate cards, will be able to carry out their activities without obstacles, using the protection mechanisms established by law.
Q: What is special about these journalist’s cards?
A: The form and size of the journalist’s card were determined by taking into account international standards. The QR code inscribed on its back helps gain access to the informative webpage of the Media Register by mobile devices and see an electronic version of the card. This will ensure that the other party is sure of the reliability of the information about the journalist.
Q: What is the journalist’s card validity date?
A: The journalist’s card is valid for three years. A journalist has the right to apply for a new card by handing it over to the Agency no later than three working days after its validity period is expired.
In case the information on the journalist’s card changes or the journalist’s card becomes unusable, or the information on the card is proved to be incorrect, the journalist is required to apply for a replacement of the card.
A journalist whose employment contract has been terminated shall hand over his card to the media entity he worked for on the last working day, and the media entity, in turn, shall submit this card to the Agency.
A journalist working under a service contract shall submit his/her journalist’s card to the Agency no later than three working days from the day he/she is removed from the Media Register.