Tajik prosecutors summon journalist’s family after his coverage of coronavirus

11 months ago Web Desk 0

Mirzo Salimpour, a founder of the independent Akhbor news agency and a former RFE/RL journalist, said on July 7 that four days earlier, the officials questioned his relatives and demanded his eldest daughter and two sisters-in-law speak against him “in a video.”


One of the women told RFE/RL that officials told them to halt all contact with Salimpour, who is based in Europe.


The Prosecutor-General’s Office declined to comment, but a source close to the agency confirmed to RFE/RL that the women were indeed questioned by officials.


The summons was aimed at “clarifying some information and also warning the relatives that they shouldn’t send any information, photos, or video material to Akhbor,” the official said on condition of anonymity, as they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.


In an open letter to the office of the president, Salimpour described the incident as a “cowardly” attack on independent media. He urged the office of the president to prevent such “illegal acts” by Tajik officials as they tarnish the country’s image.


The Akhbor website was blocked on April 22 following its extensive reporting about a suspicious rise in “pneumonia” cases in Tajikistan as the government insisted the country was free of the coronavirus, while police harassed journalists who questioned the spike in pneumonia cases. Dushanbe finally admitted to having COVID-19 cases on April 30.


Source: Asia Plus