Azerbaijan blocks access to independent media websites

A court in the Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan has affirmed action by the communications ministry, which has blocked the access to several independent news media websites.

The local court in the capital Baku on Friday upheld action by the country's communications ministry to block the access to the Azeri-language website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as well as several key independent news websites.

The websites have been unavailable in this former Soviet republic since late March when the ministry shut down the access following a prosecutor's petition decrying "threats to legitimate interests of the government and society."

Samed Rahimli, a lawyer representing one of the media websites, said he and the other defendants would appeal the ruling.