Azerbaijan Internet Watch (AIW) was launched in October 2019 to track Azerbaijan’s internet freedom landscape in real-time.
This project addresses the large information gap that currently exists around critical developments related to Internet freedom in Azerbaijan, which has taken unprecedented downward turn in the last five years.
Internet freedom has been on the decline in authoritarian Azerbaijan. Ruled by the government of an incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, the authorities have cracked down on all forms of civil society activism since Aliyev’s ascent to the presidency in 2003.
In the absence of open political discussions offline, much of the conversation moved to social media platforms, especially Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Realizing this shift, authorities in Azerbaijan have already started exercising various forms of control mechanisms, from hacking Facebook pages that belong to popular political figures and parties, to blocking websites, issuing take down requests, spear phishing attempts and DDoS attacks against independent and opposition media platforms.
Azerbaijan Internet Watch (or Az-NetWatch for short) is an online resource mapping online censorship and surveillance in Azerbaijan. This is being done through monitoring, documenting and reporting in the context of information controls deployed in Azerbaijan.
The project features content in three different formats: news, technical analysis, incident reports.
The goal of the project is to raise awareness by offering reliable data for relevant audiences and stakeholders, collect, analyze, and evaluate new developments through collaborations with project partners and examine how certain institutions in Azerbaijan, restrict information and deploy censorship mechanisms preventing access to information and freedom of speech.