The Press Council of Azerbaijan (PCA) is a self-regulatory body of Azerbaijani press. The Council was created during the First Conference of Azerbaijani journalists, in which 180 media organizations were present, on 15 March 2003.
The Council's aims include conducting of public control so as to ensure that journalists act in line with the requirements of relevant pieces of legislation and professional principles, improving government-media and public-media relations, and contributing to the freedom of speech.
In order to fulfill the objectives stated above, the Council considers the possibilities of pre-judicial solutions of conflicts arising from newspaper articles, examines complaints about the conduct of correspondents of various media outlets and makes decisions about complaints.
The main mission of the Press Council is to examine complaints which are considered in stages:
1 Examination of complaints
All complaints are first received by the Secretariat led by the General Secretary who establishes whether a complaint is made in accordance with the "Press Council's Complaint Handling Guidelines", ensures that procedural rules are followed and he also advises complainants on what should be done next.
A complainant and complainee are invited to the Complaints Commission. At this stage, the conflicting sides' positions are further clarified and some questions are being put by the Commission members. Decisions are reached subsequent to as a series of consultations between the Commission members, and conveyed to a complainant and complainee via the Secretariat.
The Board is the ultimate instance of decision-making in which opinions issued by the Complaints Commission are reviewed. The Board is to determine whether all conciliatory measures to the effect of achieving a consensus between the conflicting sides are exhausted.
2 Decision and opinions
Decisions and opinions of the Press Council are of recommendatory character and do not include administrative measures. Decisions and opinions may require a complainee to publish the other side's view, issue a proper apology and retract the original article.
More information on the background, structure and decision-making process of the PCA can be found here.