OSCE Media Freedom Representative condemns attacks on media workers in Tajikistan

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The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro today condemned the attacks on journalists in Dushanbe and expressed her grave worries regarding the safety of media workers in Tajikistan. This comes following reports about two separate attacks in Dushanbe on teams of the Russian-language television and digital news network, Current Time, and the Tajik service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Radio Ozodi after they conducted interviews about recent events in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region (GBAO).

”I condemn yesterday’s attacks on these journalists in Dushanbe and reiterate my appeal to the authorities to ensure that such harassment is stopped, that media workers can pursue their professional duties and they are able cover events of importance to the whole society’,” the Representative said.

Media reported that on 17 May, a number of unidentified persons in civilian clothes dragged co-workers of Current Time and Radio Ozodi, Anushervon Aripov, Nasim Isamov, Mullorajab Yusufi and Barot Yusufi out of their cars, took away their professional equipment, as well as their duty and private mobile phones. Mullorajab Yusufi and Barot Yusufi were reportedly beaten, with the first receiving several strong blows to the head and torso.

Media workers have reported mounting pressure since civil disturbances erupted in the GBAO on 16 May. In particular, on 17 May, independent news portal and newspaper Asia-Plus declared that it would stop covering the events in the GBAO after having received a warning from the authorities. Also, internet connection and mobile signal in the GBAO have reportedly been barely available since 16 May.

“Access to information is crucial to the public, especially during times of unrest, so I call on the authorities to do all they can to safeguard media freedom, ensure the safety of all media workers and to restore access to all means of communications.”

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe