Ilham Aliyev

French journalists in court accused of defaming Azerbaijan

Two French journalists accused by Azerbaijan's government of defamation for calling the country a "dictatorship" appeared for a hearing at a French court Tuesday, in an unusual case that activists call an effort to export censorship.

The case appears to be the first time a foreign government is pursuing journalists for defamation through a French court.

The hearing came as multiple European news organizations published a joint investigation Tuesday alleging vast money laundering and corruption by Azerbaijan — including allegedly paying off European politicians for favorable treatment.

In Tuesday's hearing in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, journalists Elise...