ralakbar


In the lands of intolerance, pop competition is just a big politics

Europe’s favorite song contest – Eurovision is the biggest pop competition and one of the longest running TV shows in the world. The annual musical contest suggests a model for European unity and traditions worth following.The themes of equality, diversity and tolerance have gained increasing traction in the politics of Eurovision in recent years. Sometimes, […]

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lobbying

Azerbaijan’s bizarre influence-peddling business in Washington drying up… At least on paper

Amid a sharp and prolonged oil price slump, which has been hurting petro-states since early this year, the lobbyists in the U.S. capital are about to lose one of their lavish clients – Azerbaijan. Over the years, representatives of the oil-rich post-Soviet country with poor human rights records have lobbied on Capitol Hill, the real […]


Flacking for despots: Inside Azerbaijan’s lobbying in the U.S. (Video)

Lobbying is extremely effective on any democratic governance, including in the U.S. politics. Though politicians are prohibited from accepting money directly from foreign governments, it is believed that indirect funding may occur through domestic lobbyists hired by foreign actors. What this means is, regardless of what happens in dictatorships from Central Asia to the Middle […]

lobby

Inside Azerbaijan’s lobbying in Washington D.C. (VIDEO)

Lobbying is extremely effective on any democratic governance, including in the U.S. politics. Though politicians are prohibited from accepting money directly from foreign governments, it is believed that indirect funding may occur through domestic lobbyists hired by foreign actors. What this means is, regardless of what happens in dictatorships from Central Asia to the Middle […]


Ramis55

A Dissident’s Life…

Story of Ramis Yunus, a family member of Azeri imprisoned rights defenders Arif and Leyla Yunus.  (Audio & Photo Multimedia) Despite living for more than a decade in the United States, a leading Azeri dissident says he feels homesick for his motherland that he is not allowed to return to. The dissident, Ramis Yunus, 56, […]


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Running in Crystal City: Multi-Image Photo Story

Area runners’ favorite spring evening race series, the Crystal City 5K Fridays, is back! Starting yesterday, April 10, four 5K races will be held on consecutive Fridays. Here are some shots from my camera. Be brave and run all four; kick your weekends off with a fit start!                   […]


Azerbaijan Undermines Its International Image: Does it matter for Aliyev Government?

(This article was originally published by Foreign Policy Journal on March 23, 2015) Azerbaijan is making itself a welcome home among neighboring states — from Russia to Iran, to the wider Middle East — that deny basic rights to their citizenry and ignore ways democratic states treat their citizens. Does Ilham Aliyev government care about […]

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Video-Caricature

Check out some of my selected videos from 2014

  Washington event: US backs independent voices, seeks ‘engagement’ with Azerbaijan     CPJ’s J.Simon about Azeri crackdown on independent media and ‘democratators.’ More here     Top US analyst urges for sanctions on Azeri govt. for outrageous treatment of its own people     Colleagues, friends support journalist Khadija Ismayil in front of Azeri […]


How to cultivate a niche community site until it’s self-sustaining…

(This blog post is prepared based on my university assignment focusing on successful journalistic entrepreneurs, especially on the example of the Great Lakes Echo. You can read my interview with veteran journalist and scholar David Poulson and some key takeaways on his wonderful experience as an innovator.) Veteran environmental journalist and scholar David Poulson says […]

David Poulson
Photo source: Website of MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

Spy

For Azerbaijan, IREX is SPY-REX
Why authoritarian regimes are scared of American NGOs?

(The edited version of this article was originally published by RFERL/RadioAzadliq on Dec. 17. 2014) The U.S. nonprofit organization IREX (International Research and Exchange Board) has worked in post-Soviet Azerbaijan for 16 years supporting academic exchanges and independent media development. But these days life isn’t easy for international media advocates in Azerbaijan: the country is […]


Liveblog: Mandy Jenkins on Social Media and Journalism

Mandy Jenkins is the Open Newsroom Editor for Storyful – a social news agency that distributes breaking news and community generated content. Jenkins spoke to the students of American University Interactive Journalism program on December 6 about Social Media and Journalism. Follow a liveblog of Jenkin’s remarks below.   Live Blog Social Media and Journalism […]


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Africa-focused Startups Pitch Their Companies in Diaspora Demo Competition

Investors, entrepreneurs and African diaspora members gathered today at World Bank’s Preston Auditorium for the Diaspora Demo Day competition where more than two dozen of Africa-focused startups presented their companies. The event marked a great space to network and build relationships for nonprofit where investors offered key insights on pitching. “This is the largest gathering […]


Tweet or treat?

Authoritarian leaders don’t just hate social media. They also use it as a tool for silencing activists, spreading propaganda   Arzu Geybulla, a journalist and blogger in Turkey, says she wasn’t entirely surprised when she became a subject of an intimidation campaign on social media on an October night. “When you have a voice and […]

Erdotweet

How the Broadcast Newsrooms Work?

Matt Glassman is assistant news director for NBC4 Washington and an adjunct professor of journalism at American University. He spoke to our class this afternoon about engaging broadcast media, including writing for broadcast news, re-formatting broadcast stories for the Internet, and behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a broadcast newsroom.  At NBC, […]