Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Freedom of the press in Tajikistan did not register significant gains in 2003. While press freedom is guaranteed by the constitution and official censorship is banned, the government of President Imomali Rakhmonov suppressed the country's independent media through intimidation by tax authorities, the withholding of licenses, the denial of printing privileges by the state-run printing monopoly, the threat of criminal prosecution of libel, and strict secrecy concerning all government information. The government, which had for the first time allowed private radio broadcasts in 2002, denied the television broadcasting application made by Asia-Plus, the same media holding company that had initiated the country's first radio broadcast after the radio ban was lifted. The government cited a lack of technical equipment and qualified personnel as reasons for the decision, although Asia-Plus denied that the government had ever inspected the equipment or requested information regarding personnel. At the same time, President Rakhmonov continued to use the state-run media as a personal instrument of propaganda and harassed media outlets that published interviews or information about opposition parties. Tax authorities visited the independent weekly Nerui Sukhan and the Dushanbe prosecutor's office questioned its editor-in-chief following publication of an interview with an opposition leader.