President of Tajikistan issues an ultimatum to the radio “Svoboda”

Emomali Rahmon criticized the activities of the Tajik service of the radio “Svoboda”, and demanded not to write about organizations banned in Tajikistan.

The President of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Jamie Fly and the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met in Zurich as part of a working visit by the Tajik leader to Switzerland.

During the meeting, “Emomali Rahmon emphasized that the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan attaches great importance to the issues of freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the country, makes efforts to create a free and normal atmosphere for the activities of local and foreign media,” the Tajik state agency “Khovar” reports.

Emomali Rahmon also emphasized that the rumors about the termination of the activity of radio “Svoboda” are a lie, and today in Tajikistan 18 of its employees are registered and freely carry out their activities, while the activities of radio “Svoboda” are completely prohibited in some post-Soviet countries.

The President of Tajikistan reproached the radio “Svoboda” for the fact that in recent years it has been more concerned with disseminating information on terrorist parties and movements whose activities are prohibited by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan.

Emomali Rahmon emphasized that such violations of the law by any media are unacceptable, regardless of the form of their affiliation. The head of the state, Emomali Rahmon, demanded that the administration of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, as part of its activities in Tajikistan, when covering the political and socio-economic life of the country, prepare materials in an objective manner using the views of civil society.

Recall that at present 11 journalists of the Tajik service “Svoboda” are denied accreditation. Some journalists received short-term accreditation, which contradicts the laws of Tajikistan; they require an extension of permits for a year.

Experts believe that in this way Emomali Rahmon actually delivered an ultimatum to the radio “Svoboda” so that its journalists would not receive accreditation in Tajikistan if they continued to write about organizations prohibited in Tajikistan.

We will remind that earlier the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan and the Media Council of Tajikistan spoke in defense of the Tajik service of the radio “Svoboda”, which expressed their concern about the current situation regarding the accreditation of correspondents of the radio “Svoboda” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan. They called on the authorities not to use the mechanism of accreditation of foreign media journalists as an instrument to restrict freedom of speech in the country.

The USA Congress, in turn, sent a letter addressed to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, in which it expressed concern about reports of harassment, threats and denial of accreditation of journalists from the Tajik Bureau of RFE / RL (Radio “Ozodi”).

The letter, signed by the representative of democrats Adam B. Schiff and the representative of republicans Steve Chabot, says that the USA Congress, which sponsors Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and advocates for the development of a free and independent press, is concerned about the ongoing a situation that “could undermine USA-Tajikistan relations and hit at the image of the last one”.

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