U.S. non-governmental organization National Democratic Institute criticized Azerbaijani media last week during a dispute over the true reason NDI is located in the country. According to Radio Free Europe, NDI issued a statement calling the articles reporting on the group’s activities in Azerbaijan “fabrications and malicious propaganda.”
Legally operating in Azerbaijan since 1995, the article also cited NDI President Kenneth Wollack as saying "repeating a series of falsehoods over and over again does not make them true."
The source of this argument between Baku and NDI lies in the non-profit’s alleged bookkeeping practices. According to Eurasianet.org, Azerbaijani officials claim that NDI is ignoring the country’s record-keeping procedures and is instead paying contractors in cash. They also accuse the group of funding and forwarding youth protests across the country.
Azerbaijani newspaper Haqqin appears to have first accused NDI of such activities, suggesting that NDI is a group operated by the U.S. secret service that means to create civil unrest.
According to Eurasianet.org, NDI’s Eurasia Director Laura Jewett denied these claims, saying that NDI is transparent about its operations in the country and that journalists such things do “more to discredit the professionalism of the authors than their intended targets.”
By Kelly Moffitt.