There is no direct censorship except in specific topics-Mazhab Juma.
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01:40 / 2024-04-13

There is no direct censorship except in specific topics-Mazhab Juma.

Mazhab JumaAn interview with the correspondent of Asia Plus Mazhab Juma.

The difference between an information agency and a print media is in an agency there is more urgency and work with sources. For example, while we prepare one or two analytical articles or reports in a week in print media, in the news agency it is necessary to prepare 3-4 or even 7-8 articles every day. The most important is this news needs to be published before other agencies and media. Thus, we cooperate with government sources and institutions on a daily basis. While we contact agencies or sources once or twice a week to get information or views in print media, we work and cooperate with them every day in agency. Whether they respond promptly and adequately is another matter.

Agency has more responsibility. In print media, if you are responsible for one material, in agency you are responsible for everything you publish.

The format of the work in an agency differs from print media. In agency work is short while in print media it is expended and with the full coverage of the topic with analytical material.

In short, the delivery of daily news is in the first place, when in print media the discussion of the topic of the day with the help of experts and officials has the first position.

- In general, which media do you prefer in broadcasting information: press, radio, television or Internet sites?

- I give preference to Internet sites for broadcasting information. For two reasons: daily and timely publications and availability.

For example, while a report is filmed, edited, broadcasted and published on radio, television, and newspaper once a week, the news will be published on Internet and people pay less attention to the information of television, radio or newspaper. The fastest thing that "decays" is information. Therefore, it is necessary to provide society with information in time.

Social Networks are a mean of spreading information and it is possible to spread information through social networks. However, social networks are still not recognized as media in our country, and any information published may not be recognized. Therefore, I always publish information and convey it to the audience through social networks. However, I leave the website link so that the reader can read the news in its original form. This gives the reader confidence that the news was broadcasted by a reliable media outlet.

- What topics are taboo- dangerous, for media coverage today in your opinion?

– According to a survey conducted by NANSMIT a few months ago, I pointed out that not only writing about political topics is taboo, but it has reached a point where we think twice to write about some social topics as well. For example, if a few years ago only the first leadership of the country and their relatives were taboo, now writing some economic topics is taboo as well.

Thus, religious topics or reporting from crowded places have also become somewhat dangerous. First, they can blame you for supporting a forbidden group or writing the wrong letter, secondly, they can interpret it as an excuse to disturb the society.

Although it should not be forgotten that the recurrence of border conflicts between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is taboo and somewhat problematic because of the lack of information. When the conflict occurs there is a problem to get reliable information from the government to deliver it to the public from first hand. In this case we receive information from the public and it can be problematic both to media and journalists because public does not always give correct information.

- Is there censorship during your professional activity or not?

- There are two issues here, the censorship directly imposed on me by the authority or institution, and the censorship that reaches me through the management or agency.

In general, direct censorship by the authorities or institutions does not reach me, but there are some discussions by some individuals: "why did you write about this topic?", "it would have been better if you didn't write," "who asked you to do this?"

Thus, there is no direct censorship by the management of the agency. However, there are cases when the management is forced to stop writing about this or that topic. Do you remember the events related to the Mountainous Autonomous Region Badakhshon, when the General Prosecutor warned "Asia-Plus" to stop broadcasting information about these events? After this warning, the management refused to broadcast this information, and I think it was right. Although we and our readers accepted this pain with concern, but in that day and night and referring to that warning, this decision was correct.

That is, there is no direct censorship in professional activities, but there is censorship in specific topics.

- What is self-censorship?

Looking back to what happened to our journalists last summer, saying there is no self-censorship is a lie. Without doubt events that happened cannot go by without touching other journalists. I know many young journalists who because of what happened gave up on writing. And I think the goal of the authorities was to warn other journalists by this means.

But at the same time, there are those who speak their words no matter what and publish their materials. But as I said above, recent events have had a negative impact on the self-censorship of journalists, and unfortunately, the situation is getting worse day by day.

-Can you get all the information you need from the responsible institutions to cover the topic?

- This topic is becoming a concern for journalists day by day. Today, it is impossible to get the slightest information from the relevant institutions. They ask for official letter however after receiving it they don’t respond in time. This phenomenon became "fashionable" after 2015, and any institution that does not want to provide information requires an official letter

Over the years, subordinate institutions have learned this phenomenon and with an excuse of “write letter to our central office" refuse to answer. This problem is seen in private organizations as well as they require a letter for a "yes" or "no" question.

There are few institutions that give answers to requested letters, however most reject journalist or even ignore.

For example, last week I monitored access to information by several categories, including sending letters to official institutions to get answers to this or that issue in 2022 in "Asia-Plus".

It turned out that out of 46 official requests we received answers to only 12 of them. Given answers are not received by the time specified by the legislation or with an excuse of not having such information on their websites, either received answers do not relate at all to our topic. Our 34 journalistic requests have not been answered yet. This shows the ignorance of responsible institutions to official letters, which in this way violated several laws of the country on access to information.

This creates a space for journalists to get information from their official and unofficial sources from within these institutions or close to them. However finding the information is difficult as well, as they often refuse to provide information. However you cannot rely on such sources, as they don’t always have all the necessary information, or one day they may provide incorrect information, which will put both the journalist and the media in great danger.

- How do you assess the material and spiritual conditions of today's journalist to fulfill his mission without compromise?

- Everything depends on the conditions that journalists are. If there are good conditions for them to work, there are no obstacles in the direction of fulfilling the journalist's professional mission. Journalist can fulfill his mission in any way prescribed by the legislation and at the same time earn the necessary money for his life. However, due to the obstacles to journalists in our country, not only does the journalist can fulfill his mission, but he cannot earn money to live.

It has reached the point where even there are obstacles in the way of journalist who cooperate with international organizations and they don’t at least let them earn money to live.

Rukhshona Hakimova's interview


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