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In Tajikistan, Free Information Comes At A Price


Tajikistan's newspapers could be hit hard by the new fees.

Tajikistan's newspapers could be hit hard by the new fees.

The Tajik government has introduced a new decree obliging journalists to pay for information obtained from officials, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

According to the document issued on November 19, journalists must pay 25 somoni (about $4.50) for each page of printed text provided by an official institution or state agency. As of January 1, the cost will be increased to 35 somoni per page.

Tajik officials say the decree was adopted on October 31 and corresponds to the newly adopted law on the mass media.

National Alliance of Independent Media Chairman Nuriddin Qarshiboev told RFE/RL the decree violates the constitution, which guarantees free access to information.

Juma Mirzo, editor in chief of the weekly "Nuri Zindagi," told RFE/RL the decree could bankrupt all media outlets in Tajikistan.

Tajik presidential administration spokesman Mahmud Saraev rejected such criticism, saying the decree does not restrict access to information since it applies only to information requested in advance. He didn't elaborate on that qualification.
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