YEREVAN, BAKU (Combined Sources)—Photojournalist Diana Markosian, who works for the Bloomberg News Agency was deported from Baku when she arrived there on assignment from Istanbul because she is Armenian.
“I’m very surprised over the incident. For three weeks, we’ve been negotiating with the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry requesting to allow me entrance to Baku. A person in charge asked for 10 days to settle the formalities. He further requested a number of documents including an official letter from Bloomberg, all which were provided,” Markosian told in telephone interview with the Azeri Turan news agency.
“Upon receiving a verbal confirmation allowing my arrival, I traveled to Baku airport, where I was refused entrance because of my Armenian origin, although I’ve never been to Armenia. The Foreign Ministry representative said he’s unable to help me. I would understand it, but why promise something you can’t deliver?” added Markosian.
“Markosian has dual US and Russian citizenship. She came to Baku with her Russian passport. Her documents are all in order,” Emin Huseynov, director of Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety
Elkhan Polukhov, head of the press office for the Azeri foreign ministry stated that Markosian did not have accreditation.
Polukhov said two weeks ago Bloomberg agency applied to the foreign ministry regarding the agency’s plans to do economic reporting from Azerbaijan. This request was approved.
“Two weeks ago the agency sent a letter of response informing that US-Russian citizen of Armenian descent Diana Markosian would accompany the correspondent as a photographer during the visit to Baku,” said Polukhov.
“Bloomberg management was informed that Azerbaijan is at war with Armenia; 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory was being occupied by Armenia; and about one million Azerbaijani people turned into refugees and internally displaced persons. For this reason, there will be problems to provide security for Armenian Diana Markosian. We asked the agency to send another photographer instead of Markosian,” added Polukhov.
Photos taken by Markosian have been published in newspapers such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
On April 18, Swedish journalists Charlie Laprevote, My Rohwedder Street and Charlotta Wijkstrom were detained and deported from Baku, having come there to film a documentary about freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.