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The New Year pardon announced by President Aliyev for several prisoners, including a number of journalists and opposition youth activists held in detention, is a welcome step.
At the same time a decision to close the Baku bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contravening Azerbaijan's international commitments to protect media freedom has been taken.
Restoring the international community's faith in the commitment of Azerbaijan to the freedom of expression, a free and independent media, and to the rule of law will require consistent efforts of the authorities in Baku.