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Tajik Government Revokes Accreditation Of RFE/RL Journalists In Dushanbe

The Tajik Foreign Ministry has revoked the accreditation of six correspondents from RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

According to the broadcaster, the ministry said in a phone call on November 25 that the reason for withdrawing the accreditation was the service's refusal to remove a story about the president's daughter being appointed to a top post.

RFE/RL said the report on President Emomali Rahmon's daughter, Rukhshona Rahmonova, was based on a post on the Foreign Ministry's website that was further confirmed to RFE/RL by a source in the ministry.

The news outlet said officials gave RFE/RL five minutes to remove the story, saying otherwise the Dushanbe-based correspondents would lose their accreditation.

The journalists' accreditation was suspended in the afternoon on November 25 after RFE/RL checked the sourcing of the report and decided to stand by the story, the broadcaster said.

It said the six people who lost their accreditation had nothing to do with the news about the appointment of the Tajik president's daughter as the head of the International Relations Department of the Tajik Foreign Ministry.

RFE/RL said the Foreign Ministry refused to give a reason for the suspensions.

It is the second time in recent weeks that Tajik officials have demanded that RFE/RL remove stories from its website.

On November 6, officials demanded the removal of a report on a U.S. State Department warning to U.S. citizens not to travel to Tajikistan because of potential terrorist threats. RFE/RL refused to remove the story.

"We are outraged by this action by the Tajik government," RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said. "Our journalists simply reported an official statement by the U.S. government, and quoted from a staff list on the Tajik Foreign Ministry's own website. We expect this arbitrary action to be reversed forthwith."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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