News.Az reprints from Gun.Az an interviews with Ruslan Mammadov, member of the Board of Directors of ZQAN Holding.
What can you say about the trial of Anar Mammadov against Yeni Musavat and Azardlig newspapers?
In 2010, Azadlig and Yeni Musavat newspapers published articles without any basis, reading that chairman of the Board of Directors of ZQAN Holding Company, Anar Mammadov with his friends paid AZN1m and slaughtered a bear and ate it.
Anar Mammadov assessed it an act of undermining and degrading his honor and business authority and sued the both newspapers.
We appealed to the Nizami District Court a year ago regarding this issue. But as the publishing house of Yeni Musavat located in Yasamal district, our appeal was sent to the court of this district.
While the civil case was scrutinized, representative of Yeni Musavat newspaper Vagif Huseynov appealed to the court and demanded the claim to be scrutinized by the Nizami District Court. When the court rejected this appeal, he decided to address the Appeal and then the Supreme Court. None of the courts accepted his appeal and send it back to the Yasamal District Court.
But then, representative of Azadlig newspaper Elchin Sadigov demanded the court to sent the appeal to Gabala Region Court by claiming that this incident happened in Gabala. The next time when his appeal was rejected, they again addressed to the Appeal and then to the Supreme Court and none of them accepted their appeal either and the appeal was again sent back to the Yasamal District Court for scrutiny.
During this period, we had several meetings with representatives of Yeni Musavat newspaper. They suggested to solve this issue in peaceful manner and expressed readiness to disprove the information.
We agreed with them but with one condition that they should apologize in accordance with Article 44 of the Law “on media outlets”.
But they refused to accept this condition giving the reason that it will harm their honor. In this case, the issue was left to the court.
The next hearing was set on 13 January this year. But a few hours before the beginning of the hearing, Vagif Huseynov called me and said that he doesn’t feel good and father of one of the representatives of “Azadlig” newspaper had died, so he asked me to postpone the hearing.
Then it became clear that the opposite side got advantage of this situation and threatened Anar Mammadov, brought forth new claims and tried to protract the settlement of the problem as far as possible.
The hearing was set on 23 January this year. Vagif Huseynov came to the hearing late while Elchin Sadikhov didn’t come to the court at all.
The court scrutinized the case and decided Yeni Musavat and Azadlig newspapers to pay off AZN4,000, disprove the information and apologize to the opposite side. The money to be paid off by the newspapers was directed to the retirement house in Buzovna.
What did the articles published by these newspapers about Anar Mamadov base on?
No doubt that these articles had no basis and were ill-intentioned.
Articles “Bear barbecue issue between extraordinary minister and son of minister” published in 3 July 2010 edition, citing to ‘Azadlig’ newspaper, “President rebukes Ziya Mammadov” published in 21 July 2010 edition without any source, “Who did Anar Mammadov eat the bear with” published in 5 August 2010 without any source, “Sheik banishes Anar Mammadov from Dubai” published in 14 September 2010 edition and “No reaction to the international scandal of Anar Mammadov” published in 15 September 2010 edition of Yeni Musavat, citing to Turan Infromation Agency were based on no evidences and real facts.
We investigated the fact and Turan Information Agency said that the news didn’t include name of Anar Mammadov. The information just mentioned ‘child of oligarch’. And Yeni Musavat newspaper changed “son of oligarch” to Anar Mammadov without any basis.
Article “Bear barbecue issue between extraordinary minister and son of minister” claims that the information was allegedly provided by former railroader Rahim Huseynov. Then they presented Rahim Huseynov as Rahim Musayev.
Then it became clear that such person doesn’t exist. We first expected that they will stop writing such groundless articles and decided to wait a little. But when they continue their activity, we decided to settle this issue at the court.
Why did this issue last so long?
If they had evidence, it wouldn’t take so long. They prolonged this issue for more than a year because they had nothing to back up their articles.
But despite all their attempts to delay the issue, the court made a decision and during the trial, it became clear that the articles of these newspapers about Anar Mammadov have no basis and are ill-intentioned.
What arguments did the opposite side bring to reject your suggestions?
First we decided to solve the problem in a peaceful way. But the position of the opposite side didn’t allow it. I regret that these newspapers, considering themselves influential, refused to apologize.
As the main argument, they said that there is no such thing in the international experience. But if to look at the international experience, some newspapers which made faults and mistakes in their activities have apologized. We would like these two newspapers to verify the authenticity of articles before publishing them. Undoubtedly, this event will decrease trials against mass media outlets.