07 · 07 · 2021

Rapid Response Fund to support IRFS’ project in Azerbaijan

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) has been awarded 53,680.00 Euros to fill the information gap about human rights abuses in Azerbaijan through an advocacy and awareness campaign.


Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association, while fundamental as rights, are very restricted in Azerbaijan. The country ranked 167 in the World Press Freedom Index of the Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) in 2021. This is considered a clear reflection of the authorities’ disregard and hostility for independent journalism inside the country.


As reported by the most reputable human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Azerbaijan’s government continues to wage “a vicious crackdown on critics and dissenting voices”. The space for independent activism, critical journalism, and opposition political activity has been virtually extinguished as so many activists, human rights defenders, and journalists have been arrested and jailed, and laws and regulations restricting the activities of independent groups and their ability to secure funding adopted (source: Human Rights Watch).


With the resources provided through the Rapid Response Fund at The New Democracy Fund, IRFS will fill the information gap about human rights violations in Azerbaijan by rolling out an advocacy and awareness campaign, with a focus on Azerbaijan’s obligations. By informing the representatives of the western democratic states about the problems with freedom of speech and the issues faced by the independent journalists and media in Azerbaijan, the campaign will create an indirect pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities to address the human rights violations.

To provide reliable and independent information

As the lack of transparency of the Azerbaijani authorities, the only “official” information available is provided by government-owned media or civil society (GONGO). This information is controlled by the authorities and only show what the government choses to be public.


The aim of IRFS’ project is to shed light on the situation with human rights and basic liberties in Azerbaijan and to inform the policymakers of international organisations and institutions about these important issues. Through the project IRFS will cooperate with independent journalists and human rights defenders based in Azerbaijan.

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)


IRFS is a local Azerbaijani NGO founded on World Press Freedom Day in 2006 by two Azerbaijani journalists, in response to growing government restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of press. IRFS has been a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) since October 2007 and Global Network Initiative (GNI) since November 2012. Since 2019, IRFS has been member of the INGO’s Conference of the Council of Europe and hence, has Participatory Status with the Council of Europe.


IRFS has been a trusted partner of International Media Support (IMS) since 2011. They have jointly implemented several press freedom projects.


Picture: IRFS’ logo