This campaign was about calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release two young activists who were later called “The Donkey Bloggers”.
The goal was simple, apply enough pressure on the authorities so they would finally give in and release the activists.
Inform the international audience;
Inform key decision makers in Europe and US;
Send information on the case of the bloggers and the hearings of the bloggers to make sure there was enough awareness and that this awareness was thorough;
Ask international actors (international human rights organizations as well as policy institutions) to call on the government of Azerbaijan to release the donkey bloggers;
Reach out to “famous” men and women abroad (we got Hilary Clinton eventually) to mention the case of the bloggers (she was visiting Azerbaijan in 2010 and talked about the bloggers’ case during her meeting with Aliyev);
Make sure there is coverage of the case and that outside world was informed about the bloggers;
Campaign Target Audience
- Local population
- Reach out to the international community (international rights organizations, international decision makers, international decision making organizations such as the CoE, UN and the EP)
Campaign Tools and Activities (Online & Offline)
- Events (round table discussions)
- Press releases
- Main Activities:
- Free Expression Under Stack: Azerbaijans Deteriorating Media Environmental report
- Talks between the officials of Azerbaijan government and international policy makers and actors
- Websites (however all of the websites that were set up no longer exist today as they were closed after the bloggers were released)
- The campaign ended with the release of the two bloggers a year into their sentence. They were released days apart and it was the first ever success of an international campaign. Sadly this is no longer possible or at least we have not been able to get current former political prisoners out.
- Mobilisation in a short period of time was one of the main successes. The way people came together and agreed on who is doing what was pretty incredible to watch.
- From media campaigns to using and utilizing online tools for the campaigns.
And of course the release of our friends was the main success.
Donkey bloggers and their arrest took place in Azerbaijan at the time when social media was just becoming a popular tool. So perhaps had we used and were familiar with other online tools that could have been used during the campaign period it would have been much more useful.
Committee in defense of youth activists
Reporters without borders
American Azerbaijans Association
Front Line Defenders
Freedom of Expression exchange (IFEX)