Article 4. Formation, development and activity
directions of independent political journalism in independent Azerbaijan
By: Bahruz Guliyev
PUBLISHING HISTORY Volume: 80, Published: 2019, Issue 2
Institute of Philosophy of National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Relevance of the paper.In the 20th-21stcenturies, influenced by
the west, former Soviet republics entered a stage of modernization of their
political system. This marked transformation and innovations in the entire
political system, including political institutions, political values, political
activity and relations.
Modernization means quality changes in the political system. As a social
institution, political journalism plays a key role in realizing these changes.
Political journalism is a means of realization of the political strategy.
The role played by political journalism in the society`s political life as
a social institution has the following theoretical models:
1. Pluralist model;
2. Ruling ideology model;
3. Elite value model;
4. Market model.
Political journalism shapes public opinion, educates masses politically,
influences political processes, contributes to socio-political governance
process, legislative and administrative state decision-making, legitimizes the
political system, reflects and protects society, group, individual, state and
national interests. Political journalism and journalists are responsible to
society, and instill political culture in society.
Political journalism has the following influence areas:
1. Ensuring the society`s information interests under conditions of
2. Ensuring publicity, democracy;
3. Organizing debates, discussions on main problems of public life;
4. Hailing and criticizing programs of state, party, public figures and
5. Instilling moral values, political culture, patriotism, statehood values
As a traditional and modern, internet and social network media, public
judge, advocate of justice and truth, national interests, political journalism
is becoming the "fourth power”.
Literature review.In the western political science, modernization
theory emerged in the U.S. in the mid-20th century. Society`s modernization was
studied by D. Anter,S. Huntington, G. Almond, R. Dahl, D. Easton. There
are liberal and conservative approaches to this issue. The first approach to
the impact of the mass media on political processes was propaganda and
journalistic approaches. Canadian philosopher and public intellectual Marshall
McLuhan linked electronic media to information globalization.
One of the prominent schools studying the role of political journalism in
the political system as a social institution is the Frankfurt school.
Researchers determined several concepts in relation to this problem,
including "Political journalism”, "social institution”, "information
globalization”, "political system”, "modernization”, "communication”, "mass
media”, "media political science”, "media power”, "mediazation of politics”,
"traditional and innovative media”, etc.
Some researchers (B. Baghirov, B. Grushin, E. Dennis, D. Merill, V. Savin
and others) approach to political journalism as a real political process. They
studied the work, methods and forms of the mass media in the political process.
Other researchers (B. Dubin, S. Kara-Murza, O. Karpukhin and others)
studied the socio-psychological impact of political journalism on the political
activity, consciousness of participants of the political processes.
G. Hajiyev, I. Panarin, O. Koltsov, Y. Machkov and others studied the role
of political journalism in the political processes and its relation to
Some Azerbaijani researchers studied different aspects of political
journalism. R. Mehdiyev, A. Hasanov, G. Maharramli, S. Khalilov, A. Ashirli, K.
Niftaliyev studied journalist ethics, freedom of press, history of press,
political journalism concepts and typology, international journalism; A.
Aslanov and Z. Babayev studied modern media, ICT and media problem; A.
Rustamova and F. Babayev studied modernization and political journalism, and
the role of the media in civil society.
However the process of formation of political journalism as an institution
in Azerbaijan in the years of independence was not systematically and
comprehensively studied from the perspective of political science at the doctor
of science level.
Objective of the paperis to study the role and place of political
journalism as an institution in Azerbaijan`s political life.
In order to achieve this objective, the followingtaskswere set:
* To study the situation and development tendencies of the modern political
journalism in Azerbaijan;
* To examine interaction between major subjects of information politics;
* To discover the peculiarities of the use of methods and ways of
reflection of political processes in political journalism.
Methodological and theoretical base of the paperlies in historical,
philosophical, sociological and political works of the world public
intellectuals who studied different aspects of political journalism.
The study features a number of methodological academic principles:
determinism, relevance, unity of form and content, academic professionalism –
principles of political science, sociology and journalism – historical,
institutional and structural function methods. A sociological survey and
statistical approach were also applied.
Empirical base of the paperlies in the following documents and
- international documents on the formation of global information society;
- national conceptions for development of the national media;
- laws and normative acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
- codes of professional ethics for journalists in Azerbaijan and foreign
- periodical press materials.
Scientific novelty of the paperlies in the following:
- determination of the role and place of political journalism as a factor
of the formation of political journalism in modern Azerbaijan on the basis of a
- objective substantiation of the increasing role of political journalism
in the process of Azerbaijan`s transformation;
- study of the realization of political journalism, information politics
and civil position against a background of the formation of global information
society and expansion of the political aspects of journalism;
- study of the practical activity – on the basis of empirical material – in
the formation of political journalism;
- determination of main aspects of the formation of political journalism
and the activity of journalism towards building a humane society and ensuring
Theoretical and practical significance of the paperlies in the fact
that its materials can be used for improving the political journalism theory
and in practical activity of journalists.
POLITICAL JOURNALISM AS AREA OF SOCIO-POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND CIVIL
Studying Azerbaijani political journalism aims to highlight the place and
role of journalism in political processes taking place in the country, and
forms and methods of coverage of the political life by the media.
The primary goal is to study the state of the modern Azerbaijani political
journalism and its development tendencies;
*examine interaction between major subjects of politics in the country`s
*discover peculiarities of the use of methods of objective, unbiased
coverage in political journalism of political processes taking place in the
As a political institution, journalism represents vital importance to
society, becoming the decisive factor of political struggle, and economic,
socio-political and cultural event.
Western researcher Paul Virilio writes that under such circumstances
journalism acts as 1. a social institution; 2. a system of special theoretical
and applied knowledge; 3. an institution of mass media methods and means .
As suggested by Virilio, journalism is a unique form of a socio-political
Nowadays political journalism also manifests itself as an indicator of the
balance of political systems. Mediazation of politics and the strengthening of
political journalism and the mass media increases demand for information of the
work of authorities. Y. I. Sheygal believes that "politics is the only
profession which has a mass-oriented communication, and which is, in fact, the primary
element conditioning the existence of political communication. [16, 21]. The
author points out the increasing role of politics in society`s life.
Political journalism reflects the processes taking place in the country`s
political life. O. V. Sulina from Saint Petersburg University says that
"although political journalism plays a key role in interpreting, explaining and
informing about political decisions, it can also affect the making and change
of political decisions” (15, 193 ). She believes that under conditions when
there is no alternative position, political journalism tends to defend
authorities` views and cause imbalance of political forces and political
Political journalism reflects the views of the government, legislative and
executive authorities, social groups and parties. Informative political
journalism and propaganda political journalism usually differ. Propaganda
political journalism is considered as a characteristic of totalitarian society.
"In good-structured, multi-party societies, political journalism reflects the
necessary element of the socio-political life.”  In totalitarian regimes
and single-party systems, journalism loses its informative function, and only
propagates and encourages party program.
In developed democratic societies, political journalism is an independent
media outlet separate from the state and its government branches, parties and
public organizations. Unity of people’s national and universal values, wide
reader audience make up the social base of objective, independent, democratic
Western doctrines, concepts, theories and approaches analyze political
processes and the impact of the mass media on people`s life. American
researchers Shanto Iyengar and Donald R. Kinder say that television newscasts
shape judgement of citizens with poor political wisdom and experience. Those
who rarely encounter with politics deem delivery of news through the network as
irreplaceable . Political journalism reflects political diversity in
A group of Western conceptions put emphasis on managerial and manipulator
function of the press. Most prominent representatives of this thought are
Walter Lippmann,Herbert Schiller, T. Sorensen, G. Glasberg and others.
Another group of researchers, including E. Mayo and others single out
communicative function of the press. According to them, the primary task of the
mass media is to implement horizontal and vertical relationships.
Like all types of media, political journalism fulfils informative,
enlightening functions, carries out control and observes activity of state,
forms a political area.
Researchers point our three peculiarities of communication sources of the
media – truthfulness, attractiveness and power. Other peculiarities include
dynamism, communication, authoritarianism, study of journalistic aspects of the
activity of political journalism. "Language and style of articles affects
effectivity of sources” [17, 110]. The author rightly underlines that
contradictions between the social structure and development not only limits the
media`s influence capabilities, but also necessitates its becoming a censorship
and totalitarian control tool.
Harold Innis, a representative of technological determinism, believes that
"monopolies of knowledge encourage centralization of power” [20, 645]. Innis
describes information as a political force.
Another representative of this theory, Marshall McLuhan, believes that
changing communication stages encourage the homogenizing process in society
The triple-M theory, which is wide-spread in the west, includes the
concepts of mass society, mass media and mass culture, while political economy
theory is a leftist socialist and neo-Marxist theory, which claims that the
mass media (including political journalism – B. G.) weaken conflict of
interests and address class disagreements.
Many western conceptions draw attention to the issues that are the subject
of political journalism – change in people`s political views and political
socialization process. They note that this process takes place in two forms –
direct and indirect. Direct form includes political experience, political
organization and similarity, which emerge under influence of political
journalism. Indirect forms of political socialization include interpersonal
communication, participation in different non-political organizations and
movements, the spread of values and norms applied in other spheres of social
life to political objects and relationships process [17, 21]. Information power
occupies a central place in the real context of the understanding of political
journalism as the fourth power. Political journalism acts as a power bearer.
Power of journalism is realized through masses.
The studies in this area allow to make the following conclusions: firstly,
in the 21st century, world political journalism will develop strictly within
the framework of political paradigms; secondly, Azerbaijani political,
analytical journalism paves the way for the establishment of the country`s
information arena only within the framework of analytical discourse; thirdly,
political journalism should be made a priority in the process of preparation of
specialists in journalism at Azerbaijani higher education institutions.
Political journalism should shape the person`s political culture, his statehood
and patriotic consciousness; fourthly, Azerbaijan should build its information
market and information arena. The creative aspect should play a central role
here along with the economic aspect.
Political journalism is a means that influences citizen, society, state and
power. Political journalism, which is capable of exerting mass and political
influence, affects not only the way citizens understand separate political
events, but also affects their political views . Obviously, population`s
political activity directly depends on the position of political journalism
because it affects the way society`s political consciousness and value
orientation change, social changes encourage mass political processes.
Political journalism occupies a special place in society and functions on a
democratic basis. "On the one hand, it plays a role in management relations in
society, and between three manifestations of power (subject of governance) and
people (object of governance). It provides information of, distributes and
explains the government`s decisions, and broadcasts masses` reaction to these
decisions and people`s demands from the government.” So political journalism
acts as a means of governance. Being one of the branches of the media, which
cover political events, political journalism is the subject of study of
political science. Political journalism provides a limited study of the
activity of the authorities and socio-political processes from internal policy
to international life and all aspects of social life.
Quality analytical journalism lies at the heart of political journalism.
"Analytical journalism is efficient applied political science and sociology.
More precisely, knowledge of laws of political and social development makes the
core of this journalism.” . In the west, politics is more open. In the
former Soviet republics, journalist investigation is one of the weakest sides
of journalism. Close connection between the authorities and the business is one
of the main reasons behind this.
Socio-political life and realpolitik pursued by the authorities and the
opposition is the subject of political journalism. The main task is to explain
the developments to society, and to cover – to the maximum extent – realpolitik
taking into account the country`s national strategic interests. It is not
journalists, but the ruling elite, editors-in-chief of leading media,
publishers, influential journalists and local population who make the modern
political agenda. Professional journalists write about real and important, true
political processes. On many occasions, journalists express their views
Although journalist investigations are wide-spread in the west, searches
for the genre are still ongoing in the former Soviet republics.
In scientific literature, investigative journalism is sometimes
characterized as "black PR” [10, 235]. Journalism investigation reflects modern
realities of intensive establishment of market relationships, severe political,
economic and moral tumults relating to radical democratization of all areas of
public life. These investigations aim to address problems such as crime,
corruption, drug addiction, environment. Analytical view, openness of
journalist position are main features of these investigations. But in some
countries, under conditions of development of civilized forms of democracy,
improvement of society`s moral and economic situation, stabilization and
peaceful development, journalist investigations take a completely different
turn, and investigation almost disappears with the emergence of political
killings and "dirty technologies” of PR. In terms of the content and literary
processing, journalist investigation features two important points. Firstly, journalist shows not only results of his study, but also reveals
all mechanisms and methods used, turns the readers into interested participants
of the study. The reporter expresses his own attitude to the conflict using
applied means of expression, making an emotional impact on the readers,
listeners, spectators... Secondly, the author tries to increase tension given
the composition of journalistic study. By grouping and giving description of
facts, the author consecutively reveals new aspects of the theme, relates them
in accordance with a single story line, increasing reader`s interest in finding
a solution to the issue. So journalist investigation has some features of the
detective genre. Obviously, apart from assuring the reader in authenticity of
the material, truthfulness of his own judgement, journalist also manages to
attract public attention to his study to ensure objective assessment of his
A journalist study features an analysis of documented
facts of the reality in the system of analytical genres, an immediate analysis
of topical problems. So a political journalism study is distinguished by
inclination to genres with detective elements.
Unity of politics and journalism occupies a central
place in the activity of political journalism. This process is very active in
dynamic development of information and communication technologies in the modern
world of politics. Interaction of journalism and politics necessitates
specification of some concepts. This can especially be related to "political
journalism” term. In many cases, political journalism is understood as a
political publication, independent press outlet or the one run by the business
or state. Irrespective of its owner, political journalism is characterized by
political comments and information. This type of journalism is distinguished by
political discussions and communication at different levels.
Political journalism fulfills the following functions:
"1. Informative function, which includes collection, processing and
distribution of information on all important elements of the political system.
2. Analytical function, which puts forwards information featuring knowledge
about politics and political process. 3. Political socialization function,
which features mastering political norms, values and conduct standards together
with the normal activity of political systems. 4. Criticism and control
function, which puts forward formation of attitudes and comments on the
processes taking place in the field of politics" [13, 207]. The author
shows that the growth in the political importance of political journalism leads
to increase in its role in political socialization and political mobilization,
criticism and control of political processes.
Modern communication technologies are strengthening
relations between politics and journalism. Technological progress and
information revolution made a breakthrough in the development of political
communication. New communication areas, social networks have peculiarities of
The subject of study of political journalism is of
great interest from the point of view of different sciences. Peculiarities and
problems of political journalism are studied by political science, sociology
and theoretical journalism. The subjects of its analysis feature different
manifestations. "The first subject of study is the content of political
journalism. The analysis of the content includes the study of the theme of
articles, and periodically remarks of journalists, political journalism
dimensions. Spatial dimensions put forward level of political life of district,
municipal, federal, intergovernmental, global relations. Temporal dimensions of
the content of political journalism include the study of the history, current
political conditions and political forecast. The second direction is an
institutional study. In this context, journalism is studied as a political
institute, element of the political system.
In institutional approach, the subject of study lies
in level of activity of political journalism (local, regional, federal,
international), interaction between journalists and media with political forces
and institutions, typology of political journalism (parliament, party,
official, opposition journalism, etc.). Thirdly, the subject of the study lies
in the functions of political journalism. The functional analysis features the
study of the independence of journalists and political tendencies, political
effectiveness of political journalism, its qualitative and quantitative
dimensions. The fourth area of the analysis lies in the study of political
activity of political reporters, creative laboratories of opinion journalists
and political scientists, their work with information sources, peculiarities of
text writing, ethic fundamentals of activity" . The subject of the
study of political journalism is thoroughly analyzed from the points of view of
content, institutional, functional perspectives and from the point of view of
activity, its influence on public opinion, reflection and coordination of
different political interests is highlighted.
Political journalism influences formation of political
culture and ideology. It conducts comparative analysis of different political
systems in concrete historical conditions, studies the political elite and
groups, which are involved in political decision-making, reveals the truth
through conspiracy theories and methods. Russian researcher A. Dugin believes
that "a conspiracy method is widely applied in political science and political
journalism: first and foremost, the commentator and observer never knows the
essence or hidden causes behind he developments and therefore uses uncertain
means or shows voluntarist facts – and "conspiracy theory” comes to help here”.
([12, 5 ]. The author points out that conspiracy method is based on covert
interaction of political figures and coordination of events, and claims that
this method is supposedly used in some cases.
Study goals of political journalism can be empirical
and applied. It uses systematic study and structural and functional methods.
Political journalism studies focus on theoretical methods, scientific analysis,
induction, deduction, study of institutions and organizations. Institution
reflects the form and essence of political functions and relations. For Hegel,
institution "is a sum of roles and statuses in the system of public relations
determined to ensure certain social demands” [11, 206 ]. The author considers
institution as a stable form of socio-political experience, which emerges with
the help of socio-political norms, which lies at the heart of socio-political
life, and which ensures firmness of socio-political relations.
In socio-political life of democratic societies,
government institutions, civil society and journalism maintain equal
cooperation. Political journalism is closely involved in government-society
dialogue in open societies. In democratic societies, political journalism has
an institutional status and grows into a media organization after obtaining the
status of institution through fulfilling a regulatory function [10, 235] and
executing self-governance and control.
In socio-political systems, apart from a regulatory
function, political journalism also fulfills the integrative (relating to
responsibility of the journalist to ensure political interests of society) and
relational functions in accordance with cultural values, and political and
ideological rules. Political journalism, which plays a key role in shaping
public opinion, is based on the principles of isolation, specification and
restoration, which are part of the socio-political control method.
Political journalism is also based on dialectical and
comparative methods. It also uses regional-geographical, temporal-historical
comparison-comparative historical method. Comparative study features
comparative method, which reveals common, universal and distinctive
peculiarities of political events based on comparison. Comparative approach
uses two means: the understanding based on hermeneutical method and comparison
based on this knowledge.
FORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT PECULIARITIES OF POLITICAL
JOURNALISM IN AZERBAIJAN
Political journalism, which reflects the political
life, was established in Azerbaijan in the late 19th-early 20th century.
Political journalism in our country has witnessed several historical
1. Political press, which operated under Tsarist
censorship when Azerbaijan was part of the Russian empire in the 19th century;
2. political press of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic;
3. Development peculiarities of Soviet political
4. Political journalism in independent Republic of
Although Northern Azerbaijan lost its political
independence within the Russian Empire, it was thanks to Russia that it
modernized, embraced many Western liberal values, Europeanized and built its
institutions based on national identity, theatre, and political press.
In 1975, Hasan bay Zardabi founded "Akinchi”
newspaper, the first press outlet in Northern Azerbaijan, which was part of the
Russian empire. "Akinchi” newspaper played a crucial role in the establishment
of Azerbaijan`s political information policy. Declared by "Akinchi” newspaper,
the principles of the national democratic press – enlightenment, modernization,
purity of ideology, promotion of national objectives, unity of universal values
and national traditions, adjustment of literary language to colloquial speech,
objective coverage of events laid the foundation of future development of
Azerbaijan`s national and democratic press. This newspaper has been influencing
the traditions of political and democratic press in Azerbaijan in the mid-20thcentury
until the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
The enlightenment idea coincided with the emergence of
political and democratic press at that time. The press rose up against
colonialism, internal feudal rules, ignorance, and started to raise the
society`s awareness through enlightening and political information.
The founding of "Akinchi” marked the era of domination
of the national, politically-motivated information in Azerbaijan. This
newspaper contributed crucially to learning, developing mother tongue,
mastering world information in national language.
"Akinchi” newspaper was providing the society with
news articles on science, enlightenment, culture, literature and arts, public,
political, academic and military elite of the country, and producing
information educating all layers of the society, including children, youth,
women, men, and covering the masses.
"Akinchi” newspaper went down in the history of
Azerbaijan`s press as the first newspaper with the national status. For its
typological nature "Akinchi” was characterized as "the newspaper, which
received the national newspaper status”. "Akinchi” newspaper laid the
foundation of the spread of free, open, true, reliable information and this
tradition was then continued by other press outlets.
Hasan bay Zardabi wrote about the political essence of
the newspaper: "A newspaper cannot tell fairytales as a darvish. It should
show to people negative and positive sides of works as a mirror so that people
know and address their problems.” (1). "Akinchi” newspaper set itself a goal of
correctly covering the political reality and raising people`s awareness of
”Hasan bay Zardabi was sharply criticizing the
arbitration right and rules, dirty political trick of the existing system. [7,
16 ]. "Akinchi” grew into a press outlet, which influenced people`s public and
political consciousness and laid the foundation of political and democratic
The political and democratic traditions of "Akinchi”
influenced the emergence of a new generation of intelligentsia who were
promoting the ideas of political independence. A new type of democratic
political press emerged in Azerbaijan, which was closely related with our
people`s struggle for political freedom and social justice. "Established and
developed by Azerbaijan`s outstanding thinkers, enlighteners and public
figures, progressing democratic traditions and ideas, contributed to the
emergence of a new, more perfect stage of the democratic press.” [3, 11].
"Sharg-Rus” newspaper (established in 1903), "Hayat”
(established in 1905) "Fuyuzat” (established in 1905) magazines put promotion
of progressing, enlightening, unity, freedom ideas at the center of their
activity. Those times A. Huseynzade was promoting the principles of Turkization
(national self-consciousness), Islamization, Europezation, language and
religion, national and universal freedom.
"Molla Nasraddin” magazine, a new type of publication
promoting democratic information, played an invaluable role in shaping
Azerbaijan`s information policy in the mid-20th century. The magazine set
itself the following priorities:
*Struggling for simplicity and purity of Azerbaijani
language, which lay at the heart of Azerbaijanism;
* Using artistic laughter, criticism, and destructive
ridicule against socio-political menace;
* Promoting western liberal and democratic and eastern
cultures, as well as national and moral values.
The magazine was sharply criticizing colonialism,
political ignorance, external and internal enemies, and urging the people to
wake up from ignorance.
The magazine was providing an insight into both
national and universal problems, and highlighting the necessity of applying
traditions of socio-political, economic and moral life as well as national and
cultural peculiarities of the near and far foreign countries in Azerbaijan.
Researchers believed that there were a number of
reasons behind the magazine`s success and its eminence outside Azerbaijan in
the entire Caucasus, Russia, Asia and the East, including its truthfulness, courage
to tell the whole truth, commitment to moral and professional values, modernity
and relevance, possession of serious criticism targets, shortness and
seriousness of its content, unity of the national eastern flavour, its
highly-qualified staff which included the most progressive, patriotic and
creative intelligentsia of that time, attractiveness of its material both from
the points of view of content and literary and graphical composition and
originality, the study and promotion of culture, literature, arts, classical
poets and writers of the west and east, Azerbaijan, Russia, and the rest of the
In addition to struggling for national values, "Molla
Nasraddin” magazine was also promoting the necessity of improving the
socio-political consciousness of readers and the scale of information spread to
In the early 20th century, several pro-Marxist party
newspapers emerged. In 1904, the first Azerbaijani language underground
political social-democrat newspaper stared to operate in Baku. "Hummat”
newspaper was criticizing the political backwardness, public violence,
exploitation, religion, and advocating women`s rights and freedoms.
In the years 1900-1920, Marxist researchers classified
political journalism into five categories for the socio-political content of
information and idea priorities:
* Bolshevik press;
* Revolutionary democratic press;
* Democratic bourgeois press;
* Liberal bourgeois, or religious nationalistic
* Feudal clerical press;
* Marxist and pro-Marxist press;
* Democratic, enlightening press;
* Pro-religious press.
In its activity, Marxist and pro-Marxist press:
*insisted that all countries are experiencing an
antagonistic, fierce struggle between two classes – the rich and the poor;
*put emphasis on the protection of the rights and
interests of the poor;
*gave preference to a state building that prioritized
equality of national rights, friendship of nations and internationalism.
In 1918, at the time of Azerbaijan Democratic
Republic, the national and democratic state information policy was for the
first time introduced.
"Press Charter” adopted by the parliament of
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic gave impetus to the development of the state
information system. This charter abolished censorship and laid the legal
framework for the establishment of a free, democratic political journalism in
It marked the creation of a crucial and firm legal
framework for establishing a democratic, state, political press body. By
adopting this charter, Azerbaijan ensured the legal basis for the founding of
the media. The tenure of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic saw the publication of
newspapers and magazines for all layers, classes and parties in the country.
"Azerbaycan”, which was a political, public, literary and economic body, an
independent newspaper, started to provide people with objective information
those years. The newspaper was featuring articles on political, economic,
social, scientific, literary, educational topics, promoting the ideas of
Turkization, Islamization, modernization, and publishing official documents,
government resolutions and decrees.
Azerbaijan`s political information bodies at the time
of ADR included "Azerbaycan”, "Istiglal”, "Basirat”, "Achig soz” newspapers,
"Ganjlar yurdu”, "Sheypur” democratic and youth bodies, "Madaniyyat”,
"Afkari-muallim” newspaper covering cultural news, and "Maktab”, "Dabistan”
newspapers highlighting school life.
The Azerbaijani newspapers and magazines were widely
covering the issues of independence, economy, culture, arts, education and
politics. Azerbaijan Democratic Republic`s tenure featured the attempts to
establish democratic political journalism. So it was at the time of ADR when
independent, democratic political journalism was founded.
The collapse of ADR and Sovetization of Azerbaijan in
1920 saw the imposition of the Soviet censorship on the activity of the
Azerbaijani press. "On state monopoly in the media sector”, "On revolutionary
press tribunal” decrees were issued. The state censorship was then replaced
with party censorship.
The years of perestroika in the Soviet Union in the
late 20th century marked democratic changes in the activity of political
journalism. In the years of Azerbaijan`s independence, political journalism in
the country made great strides, censorship was abolished. This paved the way
for access to free information, establishment of democratic information
environment and free media. Academician R. Mehdiyev writes in this connection:
"The Azerbaijani state, which chose a democratic development path, has taken
and continues to take notable steps towards establishment of a free,
independent media, which is one of the permanent attributes of democracy. The
provision of the freedom of speech, expression, press, free publication of a
number of newspapers and magazines is indicative of the creation of all the
conditions necessary for the full establishment of democracy and free execution
of the freedom of press in the country." [6,10]. The freedom of press,
freedom of speech has become the Azerbaijani people`s political and democratic
lifestyle, the publication of the press has been facilitated, favorable
conditions were created for the activity of independent television channels
along with the state television in Azerbaijan.
A number of different entities of political journalism
emerged in the country on the eve of independence – Soviet press outlets,
journalism, which was hesitating between tradition and modernity and democratic
Apart from being colorful and controversial, this
political journalism also aroused greet interest. For its political goals,
approach to problems as well as its content, political journalism of those
years can be classified as follows:
"- party, soviet press, which preferred old
methods and did not want to get rid of the Soviet and party fetters;
- newspapers and magazines that were hesitating
between old work methods and new requirements;
- press outlets, which gave preference to the freedom
of speech, freedom of press, democratic values, censorship-free publishing, and
struggled for Azerbaijan`s independence and freedom" [9,74]. The author
points out that political journalism serves national interests.
The national statehood line has been maintained and is
being successfully developed in Azerbaijan, the country is considerably
strengthening and improving the legal framework on the mass media. Azerbaijan
has made great strides in developing the freedom of speech, freedom of thought,
freedom of press. The Public television channel was opened, and the country
embarked on a landmark new stage in ensuring the independence of political
journalism, building a democratic information environment, in other words, in
developing the state information policy, information communication technologies.
The information society has reached its peak of development in the country,
advanced information resources were established, information flow and use
systems, information and communications infrastructure were improved to the
world standards, free circulation, search and access to information was
ensured, constitutional rights in the field of information politics were
AREAS OF ACTIVITY OF MODERN AZERBAIJANI POLITICAL
Being one of the integral elements of political system,
political journalism influences mass political consciousness and practice as
well as statehood consciousness through public opinion mechanism, rather than
directly. Statehood consciousness of the independence period is completely
different from the state-party consciousness of the Soviet times. If the Soviet
time state-party consciousness bearers were the ruling elite and ideologists,
it is the entire nation, country citizens who are bearers of the statehood
consciousness in the independence period. Statehood is, if one can say so, the
essence of the national self-affirmation process in the political dimension.
This means that the nation`s, people`s capability to govern, to assume power is
linked to statehood. One point should be emphasized. Statehood can exist
without a state. That is, if the nation, which once lost its state, has
statehood consciousness means that this nation has its statehood.
"What should be taken into account is that if the
nation, which has no state, but has only statehood, protects its position, it
is a guarantee that this nation will build its own state sooner or later.
Azerbaijanis can be cited as an example of this. Take a look at history:
despite being victims of oppression and despite the fall of our state several
times, we have managed to build our own state again.”  Obviously, even at
the times when there were no national states, peoples preserved their statehood
consciousness traditions and feelings.
The state-party consciousness was built up by
political views, visions featured in political documents – programs,
conceptions and doctrines.The state-party consciousness fulfilled the
function of mobilizing masses to achieve collective goals, rather than assuring
people. Formed influenced by political journalism, statehood consciousness
allowed "to think independently of life and world and act in accordance with
Statehood consciousness embraces national
peculiarities, national ideals and ideas, public moral values, patriotic values
and patriotism itself.
Political journalism should not split the nation with
its destructive activity, but should unite it around national ideas by
promoting statehood consciousness. "Azerbaijan`s national interests demand the
dialogue among the country`s key political forces, and unity for the sake of
national statehood.” [2, 29]. National political journalism should understand
that statehood consciousness is a high, national value and force, which
embraces people`s moral values and rule of law. By reflecting the interests of
people and state, political journalism should serve Azerbaijani statehood and
become an advocate of statehood consciousness.
Since statehood consciousness is a value that is above
all limited interests and preferences, political journalism, which serves the
nation, people, our statehood, should set itself a primary goal of instilling
statehood goals in every citizen.
A multi-profile, responsible political journalism
should be an objective, fair chronicler of its time...and be preoccupied by the
problems of motherland and people, rather than political ambitions. They should
first and foremost think of state building, the strengthening of statehood...”
[5,87]. The main criteria of the activity of political journalism should be
committed to national interests and promotion of statehood. Statehood
consciousness should capture the hearts and minds of people as a sense of
belonging to a state. The media are playing an active role in shaping and
developing people`s statehood consciousness, instilling love for the motherland
Statehood consciousness and traditions promoted by
political journalism are one of the crucial factors in population`s becoming a
nation, society members` becoming citizens, shaping people`s patriotic
feelings, making love for motherland an integral part of the national identity.
If everybody in the country pursue their own interests and ambitions and are
indifferent to national interests, tradition of statehood will never emerge in
Statehood is linked to a sense of national interests
and "requires the ability to put love for motherland above all other values by
going beyond personal, family, tribal, zonal, regional scale, respect and love
one`s state symbols, be proud of achievements of one`s state, take the failures
of one`s state as personal tragedy". .
Political journalism explains the essence of
"nationality” and "statehood” notions, highlights its meaning and different
aspects, and promotes the values of state building and statehood.
Reinforcing statehood in public consciousness,
restoring statehood traditions is among primary goals of political journalism.
"If there is statehood, those who love their people and want to serve them, try
to contribute to the country`s progress in their own areas of profession and to
express their opinion on processes taking place in society" .
Political journalism promotes Azerbaijanism, which embraces statehood
consciousness and traditions.
Azerbaijanism is a phenomenon, which includes
patriotism, national and moral values, national solidarity, statehood,
nationality, universal values, unity of heredity and modernity. In political
journalism, patriotic traditions, patriotic upbringing, moral, ethic qualities,
unity of national and universal values, respect for mother tongue, national
unity idea, democratic values, statehood traditions, sense of statehood, unity
of universal and national traditions are included in Azerbaijanism and
Statehood traditions in the East, including in
Azerbaijan, date back to ancient times, and are maintained today with certain
breaks. "The existence of statehood traditions is related to uninterrupted
history and experience of currently existing states"[4,37-38]. Whereas
statehood was prospering in Azerbaijan, Europe was dominated by feudal
disunity. Having been established at the modern stage, European statehood has
now reached the peak of its development. Statehood traditions in Azerbaijan had
been broken for long, which considerably weakened statehood consciousness.
Political journalism should study statehood
traditions, statehood thought and interaction of self-consciousness and ethnic
and national feelings. In Iran, which has ancient statehood traditions,
statehood consciousness is strong. In this country, "Iranian” national identity
and statehood consciousness stands above the national and ethnic identity. In
Azerbaijan, splits, occupation that took place in the 19th century dealt a
serious blow to statehood consciousness and thought. Although Azerbaijanis
preserved their ethic and national feelings as part of the Russian empire and
Iran, they were deprived of statehood feelings. "Although ethnic and national
feelings were preserved to a pretty good level when Azerbaijan was part of
Russia, statehood feelings and thought were considerably weakened. The
beginning of the 20th century saw the emergence of bourgeois socio-political
relations, which was accompanied by important steps towards national
self-consciousness. But statehood consciousness failed to be established
because the state was short-lived."[4.39]. The author points out that
restoration of independence in the late 20th century again stimulated the
development of ethnic and national consciousness.
Under the conditions of weakening statehood
traditions, civil and statehood feelings, at a time when statehood
consciousness was being very slowly restored, national and ethnic feelings
began to rapidly develop. As we know from media reports this process led to
tension with ethnic groups living in Azerbaijan in the first years of
However, successful steps were made thanks to the
balance of statehood and national and ethnic consousness. Political journalism
played a key role in this, even bigger than science. Political journalism was
writing about goals of statehood consiousness, patriotism, Azerbaijanism. The
notion of "Motherland” embraces "goals of motherland”, "service to motherland”,
"patriotism”, "love for motherland” notion. The land where every nation lives,
its spirit is its cradle because the feeling of homeland, the spiritual and
moral values of the nation are formed in this ethnic area. Motherland is not
only landscape or land. It embodies national and ethnic, statehood,
socio-economic and cultural values, which have been established for centuries,
historical and modern mental peculiarities.
Statehood, motherland, unity of national and state
interests occupies a central role in political journalism. Some political
journalism bodies overstep boundaries of social responsibility, betrayed
national and state interests, violate not only norms of professional ethics,
but also state and legal norms, and even conduct an anti-Azerbaijani
propaganda. In fact, all political media should protect statehood, serve
national interests, and interests of the motherland and people. The author
considers violation of internal, professional ethics norms as moral
irresponsibility, describes serving to external enemies and undermining
national and state interests as hostility.
Statehood ideology, which is featured in political
journalism, raises people as citizens who respect and are committed to their
state, and teaches them to put love for the motherland, interests of the state
and people above all.
By increasing legal and political culture in society,
statehood ideology ensures coordination of the people`s personal lives and
interests with the interests of the nation, the people`s participation in
public administration, realization of democratic governance and coordination of
statehood consciousness with statehood practice.
Statehood ideology is also closely linked with
economic thought and economic culture. The implementation of reforms by the
state is also linked to public, personal interests and lifestyle.
As statehood ideology, Azerbaijanism unites all
socio-cultural interests of people with the constitutional democratic state,
which protects and defends the nation`s national and cultural identity. This
ideology represents a strong phenomenon, which establishes a single society in
Azerbaijan – unity of all Azerbaijanis and nations living in the country.
National and cultural values emerging in public
thought are protected, enriched and developed by statehood consciousness.
National ideas can spread and capture the nation`s minds thanks to statehood
consciousness, psychology and ideology. As a historical and modern concept,
Azerbaijanism has acted as a socio-political and moral phenomenon at all stages
of the society`s development.
Having been reflected in political journalism,
Azerbaijanism has today captured the hearts and minds of every Azerbaijani in
the form of respect for the elders, national and moral values, state symbols,
love for state attributes in the state policy, literary activity of creative
people, works of culture and arts, linguistics, all areas of social life. As
manifestation of national and state interests and love and respect for the
Azerbaijani state, people, leader, one`s family, land, motherland, territorial
integrity, history and modern values, Azerbaijanism is realized as a goal that
unites all Azerbaijanis.
Statehood consciousness, thought and traditions lie at
the heart of the Azerbaijani people`s national and cultural values, and
constitutes unity of people, society and state. Being an element of political,
economic, social and moral demands, these interests and values include the
-protecting Azerbaijan`s state independence, ensuring
its political, economic, information, state, national and global security,
ensuring the country`s integration into the world`s information space;
- realizing Azerbaijanism idea with the aim of
strengthening unity of the Azerbaijani people;
- ensuring civil society institutes, including the
freedom of speech, thought and press;
- turning statehood consciousness and thought into the
people`s national, cultural and political asset in democratic society;
- developing the values that ensure solidarity and
unity of the Azerbaijanis of the world, cultural and historical legacy, their
statehood consciousness and traditions, language, religious, national
consciousness, national identity, patriotism and national pride.
These problems embrace the existence of state and
statehood, its development prospects, national unity, the country`s
international influence. These issues can be considered as the terms
conditioning the future activity of political journalism. In this sense,
realization of statehood consciousness and implementation of state policy in
this area holds special interest for political journalism.
Political journalism`s supporting positive sides of
the policy to protect and ensure national interests and criticizing its
shortcomings can be regarded as factors conditioning further development and
influence of media outlets. (8,25). From this point of view coverage of the
state policy on national interests should always be a priority for the media.
Promoted by political journalism, Azerbaijanism and
independent statehood ideology, patriotism feelings encourage great love and
respect for the state, nation and motherland.
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