Azeri "donkey video" bloggers arrested

Two Azerbaijani bloggers have been arrested for uploading a video depicting a donkey giving a news-conference. The video was a parody of Azerbaijan's propaganda "news-conferences." The official charge is "hooliganism" and police say that the bloggers got involved in a "scuffle at a restaurant" but they deny having participated in any "scuffle" and insist that the arrest was political.

My father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan, near Baku, but I've never had the urge to go back and look up the spot.

Speaking to the BBC, Elsa Vidal - Europe desk officer with Reporters Without Borders - said that press freedoms in Azerbaijan were almost non-existent, making it "one of the black spots of the former USSR".

"The situation is still severe and local public servants enjoy virtual immunity from an investigation from the press when they try and expose corruption," she said.

"There are no grounds for the bloggers to be prosecuted. They should be released and all accusations should be dropped.

"The authorities have more to lose in jailing the bloggers than in freeing them, but who knows what will actually be said at the trial?" she added.

The UN Human Rights Committee also raised concerns about the arrests, saying there were "extensive limitations to the right to freedom of expression" in Azerbaijan.

Jail threat for donkey bloggers


  1. FYI The video is not parodying propaganda news conferences. It is a critic to the $180000 spent by the government on 34 mules and donkeys imported mostly from Germany and Belgium.

  2. Dismiss it as a cultural bias, but when I think of “top donkey-exporting countries”, Germany and Belgium don’t exactly leap to mind.

  3. I gather this video isn’t actually parodying a propaganda session, but it WOULD be an awesome sight-gag to just dress a PR guy up as a talking ass. Come to think of it, this would work in many, many contexts….

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