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Tajik President Repeals Law Criminalizing Libel

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon
Tajikistan has repealed a law criminalizing libel and defamation, downgrading the offenses to civil violations.

The office of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said on July 4 that Rakhmon had signed the proposal into law.

Independent journalists in that Central Asian republic have come under pressure from authorities since the country gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Media freedom advocates and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) welcomed plans to adopt the law earlier this year.

Tajikistan, however, retains controversial legal provisions that make publicly insulting the president an offense punishable by a fine or up to five years in jail.

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS