The French government has begun applying its biased policy against Azerbaijan to media representatives as well. In particular, on June 11, an AZERTAC (Azerbaijan State News Agency) employee was denied access to the Schengen zone based on an unlawful and unjustified order from France.

Journalists from many countries were invited to an event organized by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the Cologne/Bonn airport, AZERTAC employee Aygun Hasanova was informed that France had prohibited her from entering the Schengen zone. Despite her having a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa, an invitation to the seminar, and other required documents, German officials decided to investigate the issue. 

Due to this biased action by France against a media representative, the AZERTAC employee was detained at the airport for several hours. However, she was allowed to enter the country after the Azerbaijani embassy in Germany and the UNFCCC Secretariat intervened in the matter. In addition, German officials also saw that France’s request was unfounded. It should be noted that the journalist was invited to the UNFCCC event, and the issue of climate change is one of the most topical problems at the moment. Such a campaign by France against journalists raises a question: why is France trying to prevent an Azerbaijani journalist from participating in media training in the run-up to COP29? France should consider that many French journalists are expected to come to Baku to participate in COP29. Does it mean that a similarly politicized approach should be applied to them as well? We consider this step by the French government towards an AZERTAC employee as creating obstacles to journalistic activities, stifling the diversity of opinions, and showing a biased position against the Azerbaijani journalist, and we strongly condemn it.

It should also be noted that France previously showed bias against AZERTAC journalists, describing them as spies and conducting a smear campaign in the media. This action by the French government, which claims to “herald” the principles of media freedom, free speech, and diversity of opinion, does not fit into any logic.

As a result of President Emmanuel Macron’s remiss policies, his party recently suffered a bitter defeat in the European Parliament elections. However, instead of addressing internal problems, the French government does not want to give up its bias against Azerbaijan, which always supports peace, stability and development, and has now shifted these dirty intentions to individuals, particularly media representatives.