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Azerbaijan: a lot of grief for the spotlight of a pop song show

Explicit videos of Khadija Ismayilova were sent to her. She says she was told to stop investigating the financial dealings of Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev and his family. She refused. (Photo: RFE-RL/Turkhan Kerlmov)

 

This is the syrupy tune that won Azerbaijan the right to stage the long-running Eurovision Song Contest next month.

The title of the song incidentally, is called Running Scared, which sums up the life some are leading these days in Azerbaijan.

Critics are asking if Azerbaijan is a fitting host for an international talent show featuring performers from over 70 nations and watched by hundreds of millions around the world.
 
Human Rights Watch reports people are being forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for Eurovision contest venues.

Journalists who show the State in unflattering light, like Idrak Abbasov, have been attacked and beaten.

And when his friend Khadija Ismayilova refused to bend to blackmail, someone installed a hidden camera in her bedroom and posted intimate moments online.

She remains unbowed, and joined Rick from Azerbaijan's capital of Baku to explain.


Journalist Khadija Ismayilova, a freelancer with Radio Free Europe, hosts a radio talk show in Baku.  She co-ordinates the Caucasus for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.


Listen to the rest of this week's show here.
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