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Tajik Groups Condemn Blocking Of Facebook, News Websites

The scene at an Internet cafe in Dushanbe (file photo)
DUSHANBE -- Two rights groups have condemned Tajikistan's state communications service for blocking Tajik users' access to social-network website Facebook and several independent news sites.

Facebook and the Russian-language sites,, and on March 6 remained blocked in Tajikistan.

Access has been cut off since March 3, apparently in response to an order from government authorities.

Tajikistan's Internet Service Providers Association denounced the move as a "direct threat" to Tajik national information security, according to the Tajik Civil Internet Policy Initiative's website.

U.S.-based Freedom House has also condemned the Tajik government for regularly restricting access to websites critical of the government.

Tajik officials have cited "technical reasons" for the loss of access to the sites and pledged that the reported problem would be corrected "soon."