On 19 July Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism held a roundtable on “Media and Multiculturalism” dedicated to the 143th anniversary of the national media of Azerbaijan.

The Acting Executive Director of BICM Ravan Hasanov said at the meeting that the national press of Azerbaijan founded by the great educator and publisher Hasan bey Zardabi with the first publication of the newspaper “Akinchi” on 22 July 1875 has always been the herald of progressive ideas and the mirror of its period. At the time when the other means of expressing social view were not sufficiently developed, the press brought the problems critical for the broad circles of people to the focus of attention, presented them to the public discussion.

It was noted that our press was being exposed to censorship for 70 years in the Soviet period. The censorship on the press was removed with the return of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev to power, freedom of speech was completely guaranteed, the number of mass media began to increase. This policy is being continued today by President Ilham Aliyev. Our media has been embraced by the state attention and care, consistent actions have been carried out to develop the freedom of speech and information, enhance the material-technical basis of media. The responsible executive of the Department of Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration Panah Jahangirov spoke of the favourable conditions created for the independent activities of mass media in Azerbaijan, the role of media in the maintenance of our national spiritual values.

In the end the representatives of mass media closely cooperating with BICM in the implementation of the Azerbaijani state’s policy of multiculturalism and its advocacy were rewarded.