Armenian-Italian Writer Antonia Arslan Declared Persona Non Grata In Azerbaijan

Armenian-Italian Writer Antonia Arslan Declared Persona Non Grata In Azerbaijan –

The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Italy has published a long list of journalists, banning them from the country.

The list of personae non gratae, Italian citizens who are banned from entering the Republic of Azerbaijan, features prominent figures of Italian culture and journalism, writers and artists, including Antonia Arslanand renowned investigative reporter Milena Gabanelli. Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso’s correspondent from Yerevan, Simone Zoppellaro, is also included together with La Stampa journalist Roberto Travan.

Antonia Arslan is a professor of modern and contemporary Italian literature at the University of Padua, Italy.  Her most recent publications have focused on her Armenian heritage. She translated two volumes of Daniel Varujan’s poetry into Italian and edited works on the Armenian genocide and on the experiences of Armenian refugees in Italy. Her first novel, La masseria delle allodole, was published in 2004, and it appeared in English in 2007 as The Lark Farm. Drawing on the history of her own recent ancestors the novel tells of the attempts of the members of an Armenian family caught up in the Armenian Genocide to escape to Italy.

Persons included in the list, according to the explanations given by the Azeri authorities, would have violated the country’s law for having entered Nagorno Karabakh (NK), the de facto State belonging to the Republic of Azerbaijan under international law. However, under journalism law, journalists who want to report on the situation in NK must travel the region.

Curiously, the black list includes more persons who are known for their criticism of the state of human rights in Azerbaijan, or for their support to the cause of Armenian genocide recognition, than for having traveled to NK.

On another list, the one filled each year by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) on freedom of the media in the world, Azerbaijan ranks 162 (on 180).

The black list of the Azeri Embassy in Italy is only highlighting once more the alarming state of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, “Europe’s biggest prison for news providers” according to Reporters Without Borders.

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso


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