People in Azerbaijan live in fear. We fear for our lives, we fear for our jobs, we fear for the lives and jobs of our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we fear for our friends. We fear every time when someone close to us dares to disagree with you. We also pay a high price when we dare not to fear.
Before 2009 I had criticized you mostly online. Then I was attacked in the centre of Baku. I was arrested and later sentenced in a show trial on fake charges of hooliganism. My father died while I was in jail, his health was deteriorating since the day of my arrest. I could not be there when he was placed in hospital and I was not there the day I lost him. Some of my relatives and friends lost their jobs. They were told that they are too close to “the enemy of the state”. Now, many people I knew are afraid to communicate with me online and offline and I can understand them.
In our interconnected world, civil society, states and businesses from across the world must work together to thrive in our global information society. This is the meaning and the spirit of this Internet Governance Forum. Internet governance can’t properly serve sustainable human, economic and social development without freedom of expression, the rule of law and efficient democratic governance.