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Tajik News Media Faces New Restrictions

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say news outlets in the country are not allowed to report official news without citing the state-run news agency.

The Tajik presidential press service said on July 20 that all state-run entities must send their reports and press releases to the Khovar information agency, while other media outlets working in Tajikistan can now use official information only by citing Khovar.

The authorities' move was condemned by Nuriddin Karshiboev, head of Tajikistan's National Association of Independent Media.

Karshiboev said that "the new regulation violates the constitution that guarantees equal access to official information."

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has been running the ex-Soviet Central Asian country, known as one of Asia's poorest countries, with an iron fist since 1992.

His government has been widely criticized for its crackdown on dissent and its tight grip on media.

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