Our Analytics 14 august — 17:08

Why did APA agency close down? (Our editorial)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

The apotheosis of recent turbulent events in the country was, undoubtedly, the closure of the APA news agency. For many years it occupied an important place in the information strategy of the powers that be. What prompted the APA management to decide on the closure?

Just the morning after the mysterious disappearance of the agency from the media space of the country, the management of APA in the person of the president of the holding, Vusala Mahirgizi tried to shed light on the mystery of the Baku August. "The activity of the APA news agency has been suspended by us. There were some problems. There is an inquiry. The results will be reported later." A taciturn explanation, of course, did not inspire confidence.

Head of the APA Vusala Mahirgizi

So, why did the APA cease to function? On the eve of its closing, haqqin.az, referring to the APA, replicated President Ilham Aliyev's speech at the ceremony of handing apartments and cars keys to veterans of Karabakh, the Great Patriotic War, as well as Chernobyl invalids and martyr families in Lokbatan settlement, Garadagh district, Baku. First, we answer the important question: why did we refer to the APA? In fact, this agency, along with the AzerTAj State News Agency and the Trend agency, was the group of three media outlets accredited with the Presidential Administration, which distributed official news. In addition to these agencies, no mass media and propaganda outlet can cover meetings and events at the very top. What remains to all other media that has already won the readership? Use and refer to scrupulous official communications of these three agencies, elevated to the rank of officialdom.

Thus, APA disseminates the president's speech with a screaming headline: "We will force Armenia to its knees!" After half an hour, the press secretary of President Ilham Aliyev demands a refutation, since the speech of the head of state was missing this phrase! Haqqin.az disseminates the statement of the Presidential Administration with a refutation. APA apologizes to readers. What's next? APA makes a statement announcing suspension of its activities due to special inquiry in connection with the incident. We will return to the inquiry. In the meantime, about the loud incident. What did the president really say?

How they distorted the speech of President Ilham Aliyev

Ilham Aliyev largely focused on the actions of the former leadership of Armenia in the person of the Karabakh clan of Kocharyan-Sargsyan. Speaking about the new leadership of Armenia, he stated that if Pashinyan's government continues the Karabakh policy of Sargsyan in the old way, then Azerbaijan will do everything to make Armenia weakened. Agree, there is a rather big difference between the phrase "to force to one's knees" and the word "to weaken". Every word in the mouth of a head of state in a state of war, and even intonation, can cause an ambiguous reaction not only within society, but throughout the world community. "To force to one's knees" can be interpreted as declaring war on the government, which has not yet defined and formulated a distinct and clear concept of the "Karabakh settlement".

On the other hand, how much does the free interpretation of the president's speeches, or, for that matter, speeches by any politicians, corresponds to the journalist's professional ethics?

And now back to the inquiry. A day after the closure of APA, the first vice-president of this holding and the head of the politics department, Shahin Jafarli, on his Facebook page leaves an analytical post: "Once again it became clear that if the price of oil did not rise and still cost $50, we would expect a catastrophe, or maybe a general famine. Thanks to Russia and our Arab brothers, we were saved from the most dangerous scenarios. And if you consider that this happens in an independent country with a 27-year history, which still depends on the situation in the oil markets, then one can come to the conclusion that Azerbaijan is still not a self-sufficient state."

Screenshots of the post of the first vice-president of APA-holding Shahin Jafarli

Screenshots of the post of the first vice-president of APA-holding Shahin Jafarli

The inference of one of the leaders of the governmental agency is shocking! Shahin Jafarli talks "about the truths" in unison with the leaders of the opposition. If you hide the initials, the name and surname of the author of this "analytical post," the text can be perceived as an excerpt from an article by Ali Karimli or the opposition blogger Khadija Ismayilova.

But Shahin Jafarli is relentless. On August 4, he makes one more post on Facebook, as if continuing to develop his critical thoughts about the plight of Azerbaijan. "For a long time, oil prices have been very high - over $70. This is a very good level. Despite this, prices and tariffs are growing in our country. In all likelihood, the new price increase will affect the prices of fuel, diesel and petrol. A few days ago I wrote that if oil was worth $50, it was likely that the country would have started starving. Now I'm more than sure that a famine would have started in the country.

The reason is clear: an inefficient system of government, corruption, lack of rights and freedoms... If there is no change and progress in these areas, if democratic reforms are not carried out, nothing positive will happen even at a price of $100 for oil."

To tell the truth, so bold and sincere thoughts of the pro-government journalist caused my genuine interest in his outstanding person. Just imagine, he contrived to work in the management of a governmental agency in the rank of first vice president, while heading the department of politics (!!!), and compare his own government with the despotic regime of North Korea. Long before APA's closing, on June 12 of this year, Shahin Jafarli went even further. He is sure that in North Korea it is better than in Azerbaijan. "It's a shame to watch Azerbaijan take the "holy" place that North Korea previously left..."

Paradox of some kind! It turns out that until the end of the working hours Shahin Jafarli extolled the government, and after 19:00, sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a bourgeois computer, he poured mud on the same government that he still had to serve in a few hours, early in the morning. Unlimited cynicism, deserving the pen of Balzac himself.

But that is not all. It turns out that almost half a year before the closure of the APA, Shahin Jafarli made a demand to dissolve the Milli Majlis (National Assembly). Here, that is his appeal to the nation on May 16: "The Milli Majlis must be dissolved. Political reforms must be carried out, a parliament must be democratically formed, otherwise theatrical setting of elections in our country can lead to very serious consequences."

It turns out that long before the APA's closing, political ambitions also woke up in Shahin Jafarli. Moreover, he consciously joined the political opposition. The first vice-president of APA-holding takes the most active part in the meetings of one of the most radical, if not to say hostile to the president, organizations, first of all he is among the leadership of the party of Ilgar Mammadov. Here, take a look.

Azer Gasimzadeh, Erkin Gadirli, Shahin Jafarli

Having expressed his dislike of government, Shahin Jafarli, waking up early in the morning, again went to government

Let's assume, Shahin Jafarli suffers from a rare disease of the soul, a terrible illness pains him from within, which causes a loss of hope, forms a belief in the lack of decency and illusory ideals. So, after all Shahin Jafarli is not alone in his unrestrained impulse to break with the authorities and join the opposition, stab the government in the back.

Special correspondent of the APA, accredited in the Council of Europe and other European institutions, head of the European bureau of APA Fuad Gulubeyli. He too is an active user of social networks. And he is one of the zealous supporters of the opposition and uncompromising opponents of the government. This is how Fuad Gulubeyli represented the governmental agency in the heart of Europe. Long before the closure of APA, Fuad openly sneered at the authorities: "What's the point of bringing us to the embassy for a referendum on amendments to the Constitution? Do our voices decide anything? Everything will be decided without our voices" (entry on September 25, 2016).

Fuad Gulubeyli becomes so loose that he mocks and teases over the presidential election in Azerbaijan, ironically admitting: "127 years later, in Azerbaijan, as in France, the president will again rule for 5 years." It makes no sense to quote other excerpts from the critical speeches by F.Gulubeyli. All users of social networks follow his daily angry Philippians against the Azerbaijani authorities. And, of course, he works for the governmental agency of APA. And he spends the weekends with the most irreconcilable critics of Ilham Aliyev, for example, with the cartoonist Gunduz Agayev.

Oppositionists are regulars of the feasts of the head of the APA European bureau

To live on government money and mock, jeer the same. Cynical, unscrupulous, unfeeling riffraff!

Really, when declaring about the inevitable inquiry in APA, did the agency's management hint at the employees and representatives of the management, who hid their sincere intentions and feelings behind the mask of sarcasm and cold cynicism? After all, was it that difficult for these journalists to openly express their sincere attitude to the president and government, to join the ranks of oppositionists, to join the journalism of resistance, join the same Meydan TV channel, honestly, without cynicism and lies, to write about "their own truth" about the life of the society and the country? Why take in the morning an oath of loyalty to the government, to refute themselves at night being, angry at their own lack of self-sufficiency? How to understand this logic? How to explain this spirit of contradiction? And what does this show? Lack of a civic position or adaptability, cynicism or dishonor?

Such are the blank spots in the history of the APA government agency...

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