http://gdb.rferl.org/EC313D65-8E58-4E59-9996-603445511828_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/EC313D65-8E58-4E59-9996-603445511828_mw800_mh600.jpg
5 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the media rights arm of Europe's largest security body today expressed concern over a crackdown on free media in Tajikistan.
Miklos Haraszti, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representative on media freedoms, said he is concerned about the closure by authorities of most independent newspapers in the country.
Haraszti's spokesman Alex Ivanko told RFE/RL that the issue was raised before on several occasions.
"The first time Mr. Haraszti raised this issue was with the authorities in Tajikistan last year during the annual OSCE Central Asian media conference, and after that on several occasions he has written to the Tajik authorities, and now after a year he again wants to raise awareness of the fact that this issue has not yet been solved," Ivanko said.
In a letter to Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov, Haraszti urges a reversal of the situation. Haraszti also criticized the Tajik government for not issuing licenses to independent broadcasters.
In recent months, Tajik authorities have forced four independent and opposition newspapers out of print. Media rights groups have also reported that harassment of journalists is on the rise in the country, which is expected to hold presidential elections in 2006.
(AP)For regular news and analysis on media issues in RFE/RL's broadcast region, subscribe to "RFE/RL Media Matters."