RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
, locally known as Radio Ozodi
, was the leading provider of news in Tajikistan in 2013, according to Boztob, a Dushanbe-based analytical and research center.
According to the center’s roundup
for 2013, which tallied reprints, citations, links and shared content, Radio Ozodi’s original reports comprised 60 percent of all information published inside the country.
Service director Sojida Djakhfarova noted the recent popularity of Radio Ozodi's Russian page. In addition to commanding local interest, she said many stories are quoted and picked up by media organizations in neighboring countries.
One report that was widely cited focused on the wives of migrants, who demanded that their husbands return to Tajikistan. “In one day as many as 20 news sources linked to this story,” said Djakhfarova. “We get most credit for original stories like this one.”
Migrant workers at a Moscow construction site during a raid by immigration officers in January 2013.
Federal migration authorities check the travel documents of two labor migrants outside a Moscow metro station in February 2013.
Migrant workers look through a door opening at a Moscow construction site to watch a Russian Orthodox religious procession in May 2013.
Hundreds of labor migrants were rounded up and detained in a series of raids on Moscow markets in July 2013. The raids followed an attack in which a Russian police officer was injured.
Foreign workers arrive at a hostel for migrants near the Mytishchi market in the village of Chelobityevo outside Moscow in July 2013.
A Russian police officer stands guard at a tent camp for illegal migrant workers at the site of Moscow's former Cherkizovsky market in August. City authorities closed the market in 2009, alleging numerous illegal activities and safety violations.
Illegal immigrants from Vietnam lie inside their tent at an immigration detention camp located in northeast Moscow in August 2013.
A tent camp for illegal migrants detained during August 2013 police raids on Moscow markets.
Police officers escort detained migrant workers to a police bus following an unannounced document check at a market in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk in August 2013.
Many of those detained in the summertime raids were Central Asians, who make up the majority of Russia's CIS migrant workers. Many Uzbek, Tajik, and Kyrgyz workers said they had been detained despite having legal status, and had been subjected to beatings, starvation, and extortion.
Mass detentions have also been reported in Sochi, where labor migrants were used in preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Human Rights Watch said migrants began being rounded up in September 2013, after Krasnodar Governor Aleksandr Tkachyov called for so-called "raid brigades" to "clean up" the city's streets.
Illegal migrant workers watch TV in a detention center in St. Petersburg in August 2013.
A police officer in Krasnoyarsk waits as a detained illegal migrant from Central Asia makes a telephone call before being deported in September 2013.
Illegal migrants from the former Soviet republics fill out forms as they wait in a holding cell at a police station in Krasnoyarsk in September 2013.
Migrant workers walk with a sheep through the village of Krasnaya Polyana, a venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics some 40 kilometres outside Sochi, in September 2013.
Russian policemen detain a protester near the Biryuza shopping mall in Moscow in October 2013 during massive riots sparked by claims a labor migrant had killed a local Russian. The incident sparked some of the worst violence in the capital in years, with nationalists overturning cars, smashing windows, and storming a vegetable warehouse looking for migrants.
Police detain migrants during a raid at a Moscow vegetable warehouse in October 2013.
A total of 1,200 foreign workers were detained during the two-day sweep.
Migrant workers line up in a fenced holding area outside Russia's Federal Migration Service office in Moscow to apply for work permits in October 2013.
A Russian police officer shuts the gates at a migrant detention center in Moscow in October 2013.
Radio Ozodi’s local reputation and its multimedia expertise recently prompted the Tajik branch of the Open Society Foundations
to turn to it for support in launching a summer Multimedia Journalism School.
The project, having just completed its initial year, provides an opportunity for young journalists and Internet activists between the ages of 20 to 25 to receive training in multimedia journalism. The course comprises 160 hours of in-country training, during which participants learn the basics of multimedia platforms, international media law, editing and storyboarding a TV report. They also acquire knowledge in the fields of digital information and security, social media and mobile journalism.
The training is provided by multimedia professionals representing media outlets that have proven to be innovative in the field. Radio Ozodi’s local journalists are among them.
In addition to the Dushanbe training, the program selects two high-performing students to participate in a two-week practicum with Radio Ozodi at RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague.
Shahlo Abdulloeva, a correspondent with the Tajik independent weekly newspaper “Nigoh,” and Amriddin Olimov, a correspondent with the local independent television station “Mavji Ozod” received the “study-abroad” award this year.
In Prague, they worked with RFE/RL professionals who taught them the basics of photo- and video journalism, web reporting and graphics design.
Describing her experience, Abdulloeva singled out the value of RFE/RL’s training on infographics. “I used to create my infographics in Microsoft Word or similar programs,” she said. “I didn't realize that there are special programs that help you create infographics much faster and that they would look neater too.”
Olimov was also pleased with his new infographics skills, which he hopes to use to create an interactive map that would chart the problems young people in his country are having in a specific geographic area. “It would be difficult to implement, but I will do it one day,” he said.
The students’ work was placed on a specially created web page
on Radio Ozodi’s website.
Djakhfarova believes the training program helps strengthen Tajik media. “I believe the one thing most needed by Tajik journalism is interactive media,” she said. “In countries like Tajikistan, people become politicized and there is very little material unrelated to politics. [Journalists] don’t know what people really want.”
“That’s why we need journalists who have a gut feeling for what a reader needs. And that’s what we help them learn,” she said.
Olimov has since been hired by Radio Ozodi’s team in Dushanbe.
- Anna Shamanska