Law penalizing for not wearing face masks in public takes effect in Tajikistan

12 months ago Web Desk 0

The law on amendments made to the Administrative Code of the Republic of Tajikistan was published today in Jumhuriyat newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Government of Tajikistan.


Recall, Emomali Rahmon on July 4 also signed the law penalizing for distribution of ‘inaccurate’ and ‘untruthful’ information about pandemic and not wearing face masks in public or failing to practice physical distancing of two meters.


The amendments made to the Administrative Code provide for a fine from 116 to 290 somoni for anyone not wearing a mask in public or failing to practice physical distancing of two meters.


The amendments also made it an administrative offense to spread deliberately false information about the pandemic through media or the internet. Individuals found to be in breach will face fines of up to 580 somoni, while legal entities, ostensibly meaning media outlets, may have to pay 11,600 somoni.


Journalists and civil society activists in Tajikistan are concerned that in practice, and without an expert commission, the only information which would be considered “accurate and truthful” would be information and statistics provided by the government.


The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on June 12 called for the withdrawal of newly approved legislative amendments in Tajikistan under which false or inaccurate COVID-19 coverage would be subject to heavy fines. RSF warned that the amendments could lead to censorship and other violations of press freedom. RSF recommends that the Tajik authorities should combat disinformation by means of self-regulatory mechanisms that promote the best journalists standards and ethics, such as the Journalism Trust Initiative.


In a statement released on June 30, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on President Rahmon to reject proposed legal amendments that it says threaten freedom of speech in Tajikistan. According to CPJ, the proposed amendments to Tajikistan’s administrative code are a clear license for authorities to expand censorship efforts in the name of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.


Source: Asia Plus