According to journalists 2022 will be remembered as a difficult year associated with the arrest of several journalists and bloggers.
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02:53 / 2024-04-13

According to journalists 2022 will be remembered as a difficult year associated with the arrest of several journalists and bloggers.

PressconferenceSeveral journalists and bloggers were sentenced to prison for various crimes last year. Daleri Emomali, Abdullo Gurbati, Zavkibek Saidamini, Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda, Ulfatkhonum Makhmadshoeva and several other people were arrested one after another. Daleri Emomali was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was charged with illegal business, spreading knowingly false information and membership in the banned opposition organization Group 24. However, according to sources, he denied all the charges, except for illegal business.

Abdullo Gurbati was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, Zavkibek Saidamini and Abdusattor Pirmuhammadzoda - to 7 years in prison.

Organizations for the protection of the rights of journalists have repeatedly reacted and demanded the Government of Tajikistan to release journalists and bloggers.

The arrests of journalists and bloggers increase self-censorship according to the head of the Center for Journalistic Investigations in Tajikistan Khurshedi Atovullo. “Inconceivable condemnations and cruelty towards bloggers and journalists urge them to be careful even when covering social topics and, before preparing and publishing any material, be interested in asking who the criticized person is,” he added.

Despite to this, 2022 was a successful year for a number of independent media according to Khurshedi Atovullo. He says that one of the good news is the occupantion of personal offices by the Asia Plus media group, Tajikistan and Avesto. “There are more online media and some like have become successful. It is only a matter of time on what conditions the new media law will be adopted. Independent and semi-independent print media also see forced subscription as a way out, which has bad consequences," Khurshed Atovullo said.

There was a lack of access to official information as well. According to journalists, there was a “high wall” built between journalists and the government that is difficult to break. The authorities refuse to provide any information. It was also very troublesome to get answers to inquiries, and the given answers did not satisfy the journalists.

Freedom of speech and access to information has declined in 2022 compared to previous year, says Farzon Muhammadi. “If we consider the Sugd region, then even several legislative and executive bodies refused to comply with the presidential order on the annual holding of press conferences. An example of it is a court of Sugd region. This body did not hold a semi-annual press conference without any explanation. The regional police administration has not held any press conferences for at least 4 years, even with consecutive requests. This is disobedience to the presidential order and disrespect for media workers.”

Journalists have repeatedly appealed to the head of Sugd region Rajabboy Ahmadzoda. According to Farzon Mohammadi, it is precisely for these reasons we fall behind in filling the information space compared to neighboring countries.

According to presidential order of this country from 2011 all ministries and state institutions must hold press conferences twice a year. However, observations show that press conferences are held as if to create the appearance of the implementation of the order. According to journalists, last year's press conferences on the half-year results were held "for show". The heads of some structures spent the given time by reading long reports and did not answer the questions. The first heads of some bodies did not participate in press conferences at all. The results of 2022 should be held soon, and time will show the quality and will they satisfy journalists or not.

Rukhshona Hakimova, NANSMIT Monitoring Service.


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