Tajikistan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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

76

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

28

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

24

Tajikistan's media environment registered a slight but perceptible deterioration in 2005, as mounting government attempts to strengthen control eroded constitutional guarantees of free speech. With parliamentary elections looming on February 27, police closed the Kayhon printing company in January 2005, seizing the print run of the independent newspaper Nerui Sukhan. Immediately before the elections, the authorities shut down the nongovernment television stations Somoniyon and Guli Bodom. The government kept up the pressure after the elections and Somoniyon remained closed at year's end. Nerui Sukhan was briefly allowed to publish in July before its publication was once again suspended. In August, the independent weekly Ruzi Nav, which had been effectively shut down in 2004, managed to print 99 copies of one issue. The same month, independent newspaper Odamu Olam reappeared in print after an 11-month hiatus. For all practical purposes, the independent press was sidelined in 2005.

Two high-profile cases of jailed journalists dominated the news in 2005. Jumaboi Tolibov, a journalist and government official in Soghd province, received a two-year jail term after publishing articles critical of a local prosecutor. Tolibov was freed only in December-the country's Supreme Court had earlier ordered his release, but prosecutors initially overruled that order on dubious legal grounds. Mukhtor Boqizoda, editor in chief of Nerui Sukhan, was sentenced to two years of partial wage garnishment for "stealing" electricity for his printing press from a streetlight. President Emomali Rakhmonov signed a decree in March ordering officials to hold regular press conferences, but independent observers charged that officials avoided tough questions and used these as forums primarily for touting their own achievements.

The country sustains numerous print media outlets and private television and radio stations, as well as six government television stations. However, the government also maintained a near freeze on the registration of new media outlets; in 2005, the Justice Ministry registered only one newspaper, Millat, which published materials on political issues, and two new radio stations. In September, a second national governmental television station, Safina, began broadcasting. Coverage on state-controlled broadcast media provided a favorable backdrop to authorities' actions. The state maintained a strong presence on the media landscape through direct and indirect ownership, licensing requirements, control of printing facilities, and subsidies. International media were allowed to operate freely, even to the extent of offering rebroadcasts of Russian television and radio programs. Internet services are limited to less than 1 percent of the population, and websites with political content experienced attacks by hackers.