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article imageCPJ: Tajikistan must lift order blocking news sites and Facebook

By Anthony Carranza     Jan 20, 2013 in World
In the Republic of Tajikistan, news agencies have reported a possible intervention by Tajik officials to block the access to news websites and social networks like Facebook.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have demanded three days ago for representatives of the Tajijk government to discontinue the censorship of at least three news websites. In the order voiced by the independent agency, CPJ, it calls for Facebook ban to be lifted for information to freely continue to circulate about country’s issues.
According to the CPJ the issues that must continue to be covered-in the case for Tajikistan-is the country’s unemployment, human rights violation, and energy shortages. It comes as no surprise that a ban is in effect because its the fourth to be reported since the start of 2012.
"Tajikistan's serial censorship of the Internet highlights the dangers that journalists and bloggers face worldwide once a government is able to intimidate telecommunications companies into doing its dirty work," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Those who are committed to a free Internet must speak out against such actions and prevail upon Tajikistan to halt its blocking of news websites immediately."
Elsewhere the Inquirer Technology website also confirmed that “Tajikistan renews Facebook access ban”, which is the third time the social network has been blocked. It is suspected with elections to be held later in the year authorities may be pressing for tighter control of the media and social networks.
The CPJ news analysis confirmed the head of Tajikistan Internet Service, Asomuddi Atoyev, had been contacted by authorities via a text message ordering to block web access to these sites. Nevertheless, an interview conducted on radio with Beg Zukhurov-the head of the state of the communication’s agency-denied the allegations while attributing the issue as a technical problem.
The mountainous country in Central Asia is also dealing with issues of drug trafficking. Its become a strategic point for illegal drugs to transit on its way to Russia and western Europe, according to the BBC. The importance of a free press are critical for any country and can make it difficult for the international community to intervene if communications are cut off.
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