Laws criminalizing defamation exists in numerous countries in the world, including somewestern European countries and the United States. However, in those mentioned developedcountries these laws are usually not applied in practice. Practice shows that in countries wherecriminal defamation continues, freedom of expression is restricted. In these jurisdictions, publicofficials and other powerful individuals use these laws as a weapon to intimidate the media fromrevealing corrupt practices or from publicizing incriminating information. Journalists and themedia are pressured not to write or broadcast news in order to avoid a criminal law suit. Thispractice is especially common in some former Soviet republics, including Azerbaijan.This paper focused on the ways in which criminal defamation is a gateway for the destruction ofthe freedom of expression and the interrelated freedom to receive information. The first chapterexplains the importance of freedom of expression in a democratic society, the circumstances inwhich the freedom can be restricted. The first chapter also discusses the legal doctrine ofdefamation, its forms and elements, and its defences. The second chapter presents the criminaldefamation, comparative domestic practices and implementation mechanisms. The last chapter isdevoted to the contemporary situation in Azerbaijan, including court experiences with criminaldefamation. The conclusion focused on real and necessary measures that the Azerbaijanigovernment must take with criminal defamation in order to improve the enjoyment of thefreedom of expression.