Freedom of the Press

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

76

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

26

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

24

Press freedom in Tajikistan registered slight gains during 2002. Article 30 of the constitution bans censorship and guarantees freedom of the press. However, the media do not enjoy these rights in practice. Under the penal code, journalists face harsh fines and imprisonment for libel and defamation of the president. As a consequence, self-censorship is widespread. The government holds regular "guidance" sessions for journalists in order to direct the nature and substance of reporting. There are no daily newspapers in the country. State-run publishing houses often refuse to print independent newspapers with content deemed off-limits by authorities. State broadcasters dominate the airwaves and offer flattering coverage of the government. Nevertheless, in a positive development, Asia-Plus initiated the capital's first private radio broadcast after the government lifted the ban on independent radio. The private station TV Service also began independent television broadcasts in Dushanbe, the capital. In June, the state dropped sedition charges against the exiled editor of the opposition newspaper Charogi Ruz.