On the palace steps

The award ceremony for the 2012 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was held at the Presidential Palace in Tunis on May 3. Two large buses brought World Press Freedom Day conference delegates to the Palace to celebrate the award of the prize to Mr Eynulla Fatullayev, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist.

Eynullah FatullayevFatullayev is the former editor-in-chief and founder of the Russian language weekly Realny Azerbaijan, and the Azeri language daily Gundalik Azarbaycan - two of the nation's most critical and outspoken newspapers at the time. He spent 4 years in jail, 2 of them in solitary confinement, before being pardoned by presidential decree in 2011.

Ethan Zuckerman wrote an interesting blog at the time entitled 'Who freed Eynulla Fatullayev? And what does his release mean for Twitter activism?', questioning claims that Twitter played a significant role in Fatullayev's release.

In the hour or so whilst we hung around waiting for the event to start, car after car … Benzes, BMWs, Audis… rolled in to the Palace car park to deposit an assortment of diplomats and dignitaries. It got me thinking rather cynically about how many of the nations represented by these dignitaries failed miserably in AP's recent test of government transparency in 105 countries and the European Union.

Martha Mendoza reports:

Only 14 countries responded with the full information we asked for within their legal deadline. Most countries did not provide us with any of the information we asked for. Three out of 10 requests were completely ignored. In short, most countries are simply not following their own laws.

Zimbabwe was one of the countries that ignored AP's request.