Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
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The press

Numerous newspapers and magazines were published in different languages at the times of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. State policy on the press was based on the principles of freedom of speech and conscience, also civil rights. Its legal norms were reflected in "The Press Charter" adopted by the parliament on October 30, 1919. 

By the order of the Government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic dated November 9, 1918 state control over the content, publication and dissemination of mass media was abolished. The Republic's Government considered freedom of the press to be one of the essential conditions for the development of national consciousness and national culture. 

In 1918-1920, dozens of newspapers and magazines were published in Baku, Ganja and other cities of the republic.  The press of the years 1918-1920 was very colourful in terms of diversity of ideas: the national press that promoted the ideas of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Bolshevik press that was opposed to the republican government, the Eser-Menshevik press that was in opposition to the Bolshevik press, the Armenian-Dashnak press that was keen to justify the territorial claims of the Armenians against Azerbaijan and non-party newspapers and magazines that called themselves neutralist. However, the press, which advocated and supported the ideas of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and had a general reader, maintained the lead among them.   

The official publication of the Azerbaijani Government was “Azerbaijan” newspaper which was published in Turkish (Azerbaijani) and Russian languages first in Ganja then in Baku. The editor of the Turkish version of this socio-political, literary and economic daily newspaper was Jeyhun and Uzeyir Hajibeyli brothers, and the editor of the Russian version was Shafi bey Rustambeyli. “News of the Azerbaijani Government” newspaper published in Turkish and Russian languages was semiofficial publication of the Government.

The first four numbers of "Azerbaijan" newspaper were published in Ganja, and then in Baku in Azerbaijani and Russian languages. Two pages of a four page newspaper were published in Azerbaijani language and two in Russian. The first edition of the newspaper contained the news about liberation of Baku (September 15, 1918). The articles published in newspaper “Azerbaijan” have contributed to the development of Azerbaijan's history, culture, and education, awakened the national consciousness, upheld the national self-reliance, and played an important role in promoting the ideology of Azerbaijanism, sovereignty, Turkism, Islamism and modernity. 

Editions with ideas of the national independence such as “Sovereignty” (1918-1920), “Azerbaijan” (1918-1920), “Graceful writings” (1919), “Muslimism” (1917-19), “Salvation” (1920), “Culture” (1920), “Land of youths” (1918), “Bugle” (1918-19), “Bee” (1919) were published at the times of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Publications of Musavat Party were “Sovereignty”, “Open word” newspapers in Turkish (Azerbaijani) language and “Our way” in Russian. Ahrar Party published the “Country”, Mensheviks the “Right way”, and Esers published the “Populist” and “Worker and farmer” newspapers. Ittihadists published the newspaper “Islamism”. Creative intellectuals published the journals “School” and “Insight”, the Bolsheviks published “The voice of the poor”, “The voice of the truth”, “Comrade”, “The torch”, “Young worker”, and Iranian democrats published “Flag of justice”, “Freedom” and “The voice of Iran” newspapers. Such a colourful press reflected the general picture of the time, the spirit of the various political, literary and cultural forces, their views and political directions.

In 1918-1920, the Russian-language newspapers and journals “Bakinets” (1907-1920), “Bakinskaya jizn”, “Bakinskiy rabochiy”, “Bakinskoye slovo”, “Bakinskoye utro”, “Iskra”, “Nabat” (1919), “Nasha jizn” (1919), “Proletariy” that took the same stance with the local Bolsheviks and were opposed to the National Government were also published in Baku.  “Artsakh”, “Aparaj” and other newspapers and journals which were the sworn enemy of the national Government were particularly active among the newspapers and journals published in Armenian language in the years 1918-1920 in Azerbaijan. The Russian-language pro-dashnak newspapers as “Znamya truda”, “Yedinaya Rossiya”, “Nashe vremya” and “Vperyod” were in no way inferior to them in anti-government propaganda. 

In 1918-1920, a number of periodical publications in Georgian, Jewish, Polish, Persian and other languages were produced in Baku. 

The activity of the National Council of Azerbaijan and the Parliament of Azerbaijan was widely reflected in the pages of the newspaper “Azerbaijan”.  After the Azerbaijani Parliament started its work on December 7, 1918, the newspaper provided detailed information concerning its activity, and published stenographic reports about the important sessions of the Parliament under the heading "At the Assembly of Azerbaijan".

In March 1919, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on establishment of the Azerbaijan Telegraph Agency. The implementation of this resolution had begun in March 1920. 

A great deal of attention was paid to establishment of the media agencies in the European countries in order to spread the truth about Azerbaijan around the world. Release of the "Information Bulletin about Azerbaijan" by the delegation of Azerbaijan participating in the Paris Peace Conference in the autumn of 1919, was the first successful step. Information bulletin having a wide distribution in France, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and other countries provided official materials, diplomatic correspondence, notes, chronicle of political and economic life of Azerbaijan.

There were a total of 11 numbers of the bulletin issued in the period September 1919 - April 1920. Moreover, the representatives of Azerbaijan signed an agreement with the magazine “L” Europe Orientale” published in Geneva to provide information about Azerbaijan in each issue of the magazine for subscription to 20,000 copies. “Limace” magazine widely distributed in the European countries had devoted one of its issues to Azerbaijan. Telegraph and Telephone Agency of France had set up the new installations in order to adjust the postal and telegraphic communication of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the world standards and connect the Ganja radio station to the European radio stations at the Eiffel Tower. In November 1919, the speech of A. Topchubashov on the Eiffel radio station in Paris was heard in Azerbaijan.

In general, the press at the times of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was one of the greatest achievements of those years.