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'Banned' Tajik Independent Weeklies Resume Publication

Khurshed Atovulloh
Khurshed Atovulloh
DUSHANBE -- Two Tajik newspapers that have been unable to print for several weeks reappeared on newstands on November 17, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Khurshed Atovulloh, the chief editor of the independent weekly "Farazh," said that a private printing house agreed to publish the newspaper. He said there is a good possibility of signing a contract for continued cooperation.

Another independent weekly, "Nigoh," was printed by a state-owned printer this week as it had previously been before unexpected printing problems the newspaper began experienicing some six weeks ago.

Saymuddin Dustov, the owner of "Nigoh," said that for the past 1 1/2 months it has been unable to publish due to alleged financial problems. He said if his newspaper will be able to publish it can resolve any financial problems.

The independent newspaper "Paikon" still has been unable to find a printing house that will publish it.

At the end of October, the U.S., British, German, and French ambassadors as well as the head of an EU delegation voiced their concern to the Tajik Foreign Ministry over the state of media freedom in Tajikistan.

They noted that the newspapers "Farazh," "Paikon," and "Nigoh" were effectively shut down after being deprived of all printing possibilities -- allegedly on the order of government officials.

The ambassadors also noted that libel cases against Asia Plus, "Farazh," "Ozodagon," "Paikon," and "Millat" for publishing articles critical of the government remain open, and they called for a swift settlement of those cases.

The diplomats called on the government to live up to its Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments to guarantee freedom of the press and information.

Specifically, they said the government should not interfere in the printing of newspapers and should allow unhindered access to all Internet sites.