Ses newspaper turns 24. What have been the newspaper`s achievements during this period?
Q: How can Ses newspaper`s road be characterized?
A:Ses newspaper has played special role in the history of development of Azerbaijani press. It started its activity in January 1991. One of the main features distinguishing Ses newspaper was that it brought alternative thoughts into the country press, and made a tremendous contribution to strengthening and promoting pluralism, the freedom of speech and thought in Azerbaijan.
In the first years of independence Ses newspaper managed to survive despite pressure and censorship from the government. The newspaper was attacked by various government bodies. The reason was that Ses newspaper was writing about Azerbaijani realities. Our newspaper played a crucial role in increasing the people`s awareness of the national liberation movement, and promoting independence ideas. Ses newspaper has an exceptional role in the history of the Azerbaijani press. This role is promotion of the personality and ideas of the national leader.
In 1992 the appeal of 91 intellectuals to national leader Heydar Aliyev and his response to them were published by Ses newspaper. The newspaper served to unite the people around the ideology ofAzerbaijanism. Considerable steps are taken by President Ilham Aliyev, who is successfully continuing national leader Heydar Aliyev`s policy, to ensure and strengthen the protection of the freedom of speech and press in the country. In these years, more than 300 media workers have been awarded orders, medals, and honorary titles in accordance with executive orders of President Ilham Aliyev. And we are proud that Ses employees are among them. All this proves there is free and independent press in Azerbaijan. Our newspaper remains committed to ideas of national leader Heydar Aliyev and strategy of President Ilham Aliyev.
Q: What projects does your newspaper implement?
A: Ses newspaper is implementing various projects. For example, since 2007 we have held events and organized round tables related to the economic development of the country`s regions. At our office we hold round tables to discuss topical issues. We also receive guests who include government officials and public and political figures. We also release promotional CDs. These projects include the release of CDs on the occasion of the anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power. We also released a CD on three languages commemorating victims of the Khojaly tragedy.
Some of our projects were supported by the State Fund for Support of Mass Media under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 2008, on the eve of presidential elections we established Ses Information Agency with the aim spreading unbiased and reliable information on elections. Today SIA is one of the respected agencies in our country. In 2011, “siasport.az” website and “SƏSTV.az” internet television were created.
Q: How would you assess the current state of press in Azerbaijan?
A:Our press is built on democratic values, and the government puts special emphasis on this issue. It was national leader Heydar Aliyev who abolished censorship in the country, which marked a turning point in the development of free, independent media in Azerbaijan. This policy is now successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. The head of state has several times allocated money allowances to media workers, and awarded more than 300 journalists with various orders, medals, and honorary titles.
President Ilham Aliyev recommended the establishment of the Press Council, approved a concept on the development of press. In 2009, the State Fund for Support of Mass Media under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was established. In 2010, President Ilham Aliyev signed an executive order aimed at improving housing conditions of journalists. Some 156 journalists were provided with apartments under the presidential order on the occasion of the 138th anniversary of press.
Q: With regard to SIA and SƏSTV internet television, is it difficult to succeed in media sector?
A: As in all areas of life there is sound competition in the field of press in Azerbaijan. Only competitive agencies and newspapers can survive. Under these conditions, the activity of Ses newspaper, Ses information agency and SƏSTV internet television is praiseworthy. This means that Ses has become a media group. There are currently 80 daily newspapers, with new agencies, websites, portals appearing every day. To survive under this conditions requires being competitive. And SesMedia Group is making every efforts to achieve this.