As of 19 March 2017, amendments are introduced to Law No 460-IQ of the Republic of Azerbaijan On Information, Informatisation, and Protection of Information, dated 3 April 1998 (the “Information Law”) and Law No 927-IIQ of the Republic of Azerbaijan On Telecommunication, dated 14 June 2005 (the “Telecommunication Law”). The main purpose of the said changes is to control the information published online and which can be used by persons in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The following definitions are introduced to the Information Law:
- Internet information resource;
- Internet information resource owner;
- domain name;
- domain name owner;
- Internet provider;
- host provider;
- State domain name controller; and
- domain name registrar.
Amendments are also introduced in connection with placement of information online and, pursuant to the new provisions, Internet website owners are free to determine the process of placing such information. However, the following information about its owner must be clearly visible on the website:
- If the owner is a legal person – its name, legal form, and e-mail; and
- If the owner is a natural person – his/her full name and e-mail.
Meanwhile, it is prohibited to place the following:
- terrorism propaganda;
- information promoting religious extremism, revolution, mass riots and other similar propaganda;
- State secrecy;
- information on production of weapons and spare parts;
- information on preparation of narcotics, drugs, and similar substances, their sale;
- pornography (including child pornography);
- information on promotion of gambling and illegal betting;
- information on suicide inspiration;
- insult and defamation as well as information breaching personal security;
- information breaching intellectual property rights; and
- other information, distribution of which is prohibited by law of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
If an owner of Internet website or domain discovers that prohibited information is placed on the website, it must ensure removal of such information, while host providers must notify relevant website owners if they discover or are informed that prohibited information is placed on the website.
A process of and rules related to the registration of “.az” ccTLD in Azerbaijan are yet to be approved by the Ministry of Transport, Communication, and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan (the “Ministry”).
Once the Ministry has discovered (independently or upon grounded information provided by natural or legal persons or state bodies) that prohibited information has been placed on a website, it notifies the website owner or host in writing of the same. If prohibited information is not removed within eight hours of the notification, the Ministry applies to court to restrict access to the website.
When information placed on a website threatens legal interests of state and society or poses imminent threat to humans’ life and safety, the Ministry can temporarily restrict access to such websites, and, simultaneously, apply to court for same. Until court decision is rendered, access to the website remains restricted. The court must render relevant decision within five days of the application.
Once court and the Ministry render a relevant decision restricting access to a website, such website is added to the “List of Internet Information Resources, which Host Prohibited Information”. Afterwards, Internet providers and host providers most restrict access to the website and inform website owner(s) of the same.
Registration of Internet Operators and Providers
Under the amendments introduced to the Telecommunication Law, Internet operators and providers must within 15 days of commencement of their activities register with the Ministry and, in case of any changes in their registration information, notify the Ministry of the same in ten days.