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Tajik Teachers, Farmers 'Forced To Subscribe' To State Newspapers

KULOB, Tajikistan -- Schoolteachers and farmers in the southern Tajik city of Kulob are complaining that they have been forced to buy annual subscriptions to state newspapers, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

A teacher in Kulob named Firuz told RFE/RL on October 28 that officials from his school took 30 somonis from his monthly salary of 118 somonis ($25.1) to pay for annual subscriptions to official newspapers without asking him. Other teachers in the area have made similar complaints.

He said Kulob's education department is forcing schools to subscribe to official newspapers like "Jumhuriyat," "Sadoi Mardum," "Omuzgor," and others.

A farmer in Kulob named Rahmiddin told RFE/RL that the city's tax department asked him to bring receipts of his annual subscriptions to official newspapers, reminding him that only after that will tax officials accept his tax return.

Rahmiddin said that every year farmers are asked to subscribe to newspapers, but that even when they pay they often never receive the newspapers they have subscribed to.

Iskandar Kamolov, the chairman of Kulob's post office, said subscriptions to newspapers are "very important" and the Kulob's mayor reminds city officials every Monday at weekly meetings to subscribe more people to state newspapers.

Mirzo Valiev, the head of Kulob's boarding school No. 1, said that his school subscribes to 10 official newspapers.

Valiev noted that the school administration paid for four newspapers and the teachers at the school jointly subscribed to six others. He added that the joint subscription is not expensive and the newspapers help school officials and teachers to stay well informed about news and important events.