Tajik Web users rail against online censorship – Washington Times

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Censorship, Journalism, Language, Tajikistan
Tags: , , , ,

Tajik Web users rail against online censorship – Washington Times.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Internet users and providers in Tajikistan are voicing concerns about online censorship after the government lifted a six-day ban on Facebook and several news websites last week.

“I assume the reasons for blocking Facebook is that its Tajik segment has become very active recently,” said Parvina Ibodova, president of theAssociation of Internet Providers in Tajikistan.

“There are many groups and pages that discuss current issues in Tajikistan, including politics. Moreover, prominent opposition figures actively use Facebook in their daily work.”

On March 2, Bek Zuhurov, deputy minister of transport and communications, ordered Tajikistan’s Internet service providers to deny access to several websites, including Facebook, for “technical and maintenance works.”

Facebook has about 30,000 users in Tajikistan, said Ms. Ibodova, who believes the websites were blocked because they contained content critical of the government.

Tajikistan’s government previously has blocked certain websites, but this month’s action marked the first time the country’s 1.9 million Internet users were denied access to a major social media site.

Dunja Mijatovic, who specializes in media freedom for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, wrote to Foreign MinisterHamrokhon Zarifi on March 5 expressing concerns about free speech on the Web.

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