FREE EXPRESSION WORSENING AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
The National Association of Independent Mass Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), an Adil Soz partner organisation, says it has recorded hundreds of violations against journalists and media outlets, including denial of access to public information.
Authorities use various means to prevent journalists from accessing information that may be of interest to the public, despite the fact that the Constitution and other laws guarantee the right to receive and distribute such information, says NANSMIT. These methods include denying accreditation to certain journalists or allowing only state-controlled media outlets to access official information.
Independent media have also been harassed and several of their reporters have been threatened, reports RSF. The opposition newspaper "Ruzi Nav" was forced to close in August 2004 after authorities shuttered one of the few private printers in the country. That month, "Ruzi Nav" reporter Mavluda Sultonzoda had written an article criticising Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov. On 29 July, the newspaper's former editor, Rajabi Mirzo, was physically assaulted because of his reports on government corruption.
Another privately owned newspaper, "Nerui Sukhan", had its offices sealed on 26 January 2005 for allegedly failing to pay taxes and printing without a permit.
According to Human Rights Watch, freedom of expression remains under threat in Tajikistan, despite the growing popularity of independent newspapers. While independent newspapers and magazines are technically legal, state-run publishing houses often refuse to print them, making production difficult or impossible.
For more information, see:
- NANSMIT Report: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/64079/
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12429
- Adil Soz: http://www.adilsoz.kz
- Human Rights Watch Backgrounder on Tajikistan: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/01/13/tajiki9897.htm
- BBC Profile on Tajikistan: