Shahla Sultanova

Foto: PEN-Zentrum Deutschland

Shahla Sultanova is an Azerbaijanian journalist and media coach. She was born in 1980 and studied English Language and Literature Studies in Azerbaijan before she studied Journalism and Media Management in Georgia and the United States by means of several scholarships.

During her work as a reporter and radio moderator she began to focus on subjects that dealt with the Azerbaijanian society and its economy. For her, the settlement of issues concerning human rights and democracy in the Caucasian region seemed very urgent. As a result of her political involvement she was offered lectureships in Journalism, Communication Sciences and Business Administration at Azerbaijanian and American universities. Eventually, Sultanova worked as an investigative journalist focusing on subjects that are concerned with the political security of her home country. Due to her work, the Azerbaijanian National Security began to have its sights on her. Together with her colleagues she was threatened, intimidated and pressured to abandon her research. Her home had been searched by the military members and when she did not bow to the government’s pressure, her family got into the center of the attacks. From May 2014 until May 2015 she received the scholarship of the Elsbeth-Wolffheim foundation in Darmstadt connected to the Writers-in-Exile program of the German PEN center.