Journalists in Tajikistan have launched a campaign to protect press rights and protest a recent increase in government censorship online, according to Asia-Plus.
The organizers of the “100 Days for Internet Freedom in TajNet” effort particularly condemned the government practice of blocking websites without a court order. The protest will publicize the journalists’ concerns with, among other measures, public service announcements on the radio and advertisements on social media websites.
As of September, 50 websites have been blocked at one time or another, including local news sites like news.tj and international sites like YouTube, RIA Novosti, and the BBC, according to a statement by the campaigners. Authorities in Dushanbe stepped up the online blocking in July and August when the Tajik military launched an operation against rebel forces in the restive Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region. While many of the sites have recently come back online, authorities have yet to explain the extended outage,EurasiaNet.org reports.
The protesting journalists warned that “ ‘Departmental feudalism’ is becoming a norm” for Dushanbe when dealing with the Internet, with the effect of “unintentionally turning the authorities into an ‘enemy of Internet,’ ” Asia-Plus reports, citing a statement by the group.
Front page photo courtesy Wikimedia User VargaA.