The disappearance of popular Internet services in Tajikistan this week appears to follow a recurrent pattern of foreign websites being blocked by the authorities.
On 12 June, Internet users reported being unable to access Google, including their Gmail accounts, Radio Free Europe reports. The country’s Association of Internet Service Providers confirmed that most providers had blocked Google.
This came two days after YouTube went almost entirely dark – the fourth such outage since July 2012, according to AzerNews. Most recently, in May 2013, YouTube went down for several days after a video showing authoritarian President Imomali Rahmon singing and dancing at his son’s wedding appeared on the popular video-sharing website.
On 11 June, the OSCE’s representative for media freedom urged the authorities to restore YouTube access, RFE reports. Dushanbe denied any involvement, with a government official blaming “possible technical problems.”
Over the past two years, Tajikistani authorities have blocked websites including Russian social media and news portals. In 2012, they twice blocked access to Facebook in what many saw as an effort to muzzle dissent ahead of the 2013 presidential elections.
Front page image is a screenshot from the YouTube video above.