Support The Moscow Times!

Tajikistan Initiates Crackdown on Internet Critics

Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmon, seen here in a 2009 meeting with then-President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — Tajikistan plans to create a volunteer-run body to monitor Internet usage and reprimand those who openly criticize President Emomali Rakhmon and his government, the head of the Central Asian country’s state-run communications service said.? 

Beg Zukhurov said the organization, while awaiting official registration, had already taken several Internet users to task for publishing “insults” against ?€?well-known personalities.?€?? 

?€?Volunteers for this organization will track down and identify the authors of such comments,?€? Zukhurov told reporters.
He did not elaborate on what might constitute critical comment.? 

Asked what would happen to anybody identified by the new organization, he replied: ?€?I don?€™t know. Probably, they will be shown the error of their ways.?€?? 

Rakhmon has ruled Tajikistan for two decades. Though media operate with fewer restrictions than in neighboring Uzbekistan, journalists have been detained in recent months.? 

?€?There will be chaos,?€? said Parvina Ibodova, chairwoman of the Association of Internet Providers of Tajikistan. ?€?The sacred principle of every journalist and every citizen, access to information, will be under threat.?€?? 

In a sign that authorities are already clamping down on public criticism, an 18-year-old student in Dushanbe said he had recently been detained overnight by the country?€™s security services after posting criticism of Rakhmon on his Facebook page.? 

The student, who was too afraid to be identified, said he had been lectured repeatedly on his conduct. He was not charged with any offense.? 

?€?It was scary,?€? he said. ?€?After that, I deleted all my social networking accounts.?€?

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more