Event: Press Briefing on F1, Azerbaijan, and Human Rights: 7 June

Event: Press Briefing on F1, Azerbaijan, and Human Rights: 7 June - Civic Space

On behalf of the Sport for Rights campaign, ARTICLE 19, International Media Support, and the Institute for Reporters’ Safety and Freedom invite you to a Breakfast Briefing:

 A Full-Throttle Attack on Human Rights

What Reporters Covering the Baku F1 European Grand Prix Should Know

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

8.30 – 10.00 am

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

On 17 – 19 June 2016, Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku will host the Formula 1 European Grand Prix. Attracting global attention, the event provides an opportunity for journalists covering the race to increase awareness of the dire human rights situation in Azerbaijan and highlight the need for reform.

This is the first time that Azerbaijan will hold the F1 Grand Prix; however, this oil- and gas-rich state has played host to other flagship sport and cultural events, including the inaugural European Olympic Games in 2015, and the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. These events form part of an elaborate public relations campaign waged by the Azerbaijani government, seeking to portray itself as a democratic country, and a good prospect for foreign investment.

Accompanied by a policy of wooing European parliamentarians and officials, President Ilham Aliyev’s autocratic regime hopes to use such events to hide the country’s appalling human rights record and divert attention from its on-going crackdown against civil society and independent media.

The event will bring together a panel of experts to discuss the human rights situation in Azerbaijan, and how the Grand Prix can be used to leverage pressure on Azerbaijan to reform. It will also look at the Formula One’s Group policy on human rights, and its relationship with the Azerbaijani government, exploring the relationship between large corporations, sport, and human rights.


Gulnara Akhundova, Azerbaijani human rights defender, and Team Leader for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia at International Media Support.

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business and Humans Rights Resource Centre.

Emin Huseynov, Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist, Chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Rebecca Vincent, Human rights activist, former U.S. diplomat, and Coordinator of the Sport For Rights campaign.


Breakfast will be served from 8.30, with the discussion starting at 9 am.

To reserve a place, please RSVP to [email protected]