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Press Releases 2010

Ambassadors Raise Concerns Regarding State Of Media Freedom In Tajikistan

October 29, 2010

Dushanbe, Tajikistan: The Ambassadors of the United States of America, United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany, and Republic of France and the Head of Delegation of the European Union expressed their concern about the current state of media freedom in Tajikistan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • They noted that three newspapers, Farazh, Paikon, and Nigoh, have been effectively shut down by being unable to print their papers, reportedly on orders by government officials.
  • The Ambassadors noted that on September 29, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Bek Zuhurov ordered all major Internet service providers to block access to five independent media websites, Tojnews.tj, Avesta.tj, Tjknews.com, Centrasia.ru, and Ferghana.ru.
  • They cited public statements by senior government officials attacking independent media outlets.
  • The Ambassadors expressed concern that on September 3 Qamar Ahror from Radio Ozodi and Tilav Rasulzoda from the Ferghana information agency were detained in Khujand while trying to report on the terrorist attack against a police station and had their photographs deleted.
  • They noted that libel cases against Asia Plus, Farazh, Ozodagon, Paikon, and Millat for publishing articles critical of the government remain active.

These incidents reflect a deteriorating climate for independent media in Tajikistan. The Ambassadors called on the Government of Tajikistan to live up to its OSCE commitments to freedom of the press and information. Specifically, the government should not interfere with the printing of newspapers and should allow unhindered access to all Internet media sites.

They also called for speedy and amicable resolution of the court cases against independent newspapers. They urged that the Government of Tajikistan allow journalists free access to facts so that the people of Tajikistan are not deprived of their right to information.

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