Direct censorship, such as the systematic vetting by a censorship office of all articles prior to publication, is not standard practice in Tajikistan. Nonetheless, authorities do on occasion prevent certain material or publications from being printed. More often than not, journalists receive a warning in the form of a telephone call from a governmental ministry, offering "guidance"; or printers receive instructions from authorities not to print the publication or article in question. In addition, journalists exercise significant self-censorship, a skill they honed in the Soviet era, because they are acutely aware that criticizing or publishing sensitive information on government figures or policy, controversial political players, or powerful war lords or drug bosses could result in reprisals. This in itself is so effective that information on these subjects rarely reaches the Tajik media.
Biznes i politika (Business and Politics)82
On November 5, 1998, the day after an abortive armed rebellion broke out in Leninabad,83 the independent Russian-language, Dushanbe-based Biznes i Politika carried a breaking story on the unfolding events entitled, "Is it Mahmud Khudoiverdiev again and again in an armed rebellion?" The article described in detail three previous armed rebellions led by Khudoiberdiev, and arguing that Khudoiberdiev and his supporters could only have entered Leninabad province from neighboring Uzbekistan.84 The article also accused the government of Uzbekistan of violating a May 1998 agreement between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Russia to fight "fundamentalism" in the region. The penultimate paragraph reportedly contained an accusation of Uzbekistan's interference in Tajikistan's internal affairs and of allegedparticipation in the rebellion of Abdumalik Abdullajonov.85 It was removed, such that all copies of the issue bore a glaring white gap between two paragraphs; the final paragraph described a joint government-UTO statement condeming Khudoiberdiev's action. Biznes i Politika staffers would not, however, discuss the deletion with Human Rights Watch. Other journalists who reported that they had spoken with staff members who were willing to disclose more information, however, stated that authorities had threatened to prevent publication of the issue altogether should the offending article not be removed in its entirety.
The broadcast media also suffered censorship during the failed November 1998 revolt. From November 5-9, 1998, ORT and RTV news broadcasts were systematically interrupted, as were the Russian Radio Mayak and Uzbek radio (Tashkent). During this period, television news broadcasts were sometimes replaced by concerts, sometimes interrupted for up to twenty minutes, while Radio Mayak news programs were at times shut off for up to thirty-six hours.86
The Tajik-language newspaper Surush, which began publishing in March 1998, has suffered several incidents of censorship when government printing presses refused to print various articles. In issue no. 5 of April 29, 1998, an article on recently discovered mass graves from the civil war in Shakhrinav was censored. Surush's editor-in-chief, Rahmatkarim Davlat, recounted:
In issue no. 5 we had prepared an article about the mass graves in Shakhrinav; our correspondent had seen everything with his own eyes. But at the galley stage they [the printers] told us to take out the article or the paper wouldn't be printed. We weren't frightened, we stuck by our guns, and in the end only the article was removed. But in any case I have to fight almost every time to get the paper printed.87
Davlat also described the use of other means to delay or prevent publication of his newspaper at state printing houses, including explanations that there was a shortage of paper or ink, that the machines were broken, that private newspapers cannot be printed at certain printing houses or only books can be printed, and warnings by printing press staff not to write critical material. The first time a photograph of President Rakhmonov together with UTO leader Said Abdullo Nuri appeared in the newspaper, Davlat said, "We were paid a visit by the police, and told `Enough of the photos of the president with the guy with the beard.' Of course officially you'll never hear that."88
Monitoring and "Counselling" by Authorities
One form of control over the media is through the monitoring and "counselling" by authorities of media representatives on what news should and shouldn't be covered. Guidance from the government is delivered either openly in official fora, such as when the president publicly comments on the lack of objectivity of various agencies. In another example, on August 19, 1999, the Tajik parliamentary committee for international affairs, international relations, and culture summoned the editors of the country's leading newspapers to a meeting at which they were advised that their newspapers were "full of information on violence, cruelty, and wars" and in general ignore the promotion of "high human values" and "protecting the national dignity of the Tajik people."89 Or, journalists receive phone calls from the ministries of security or foreign affairs warning that it would be advisable not to print such and such, or are directly summoned to ministry. Testimony compiled by Human Rights Watch from local journalists and those working for international agencies bore out the frequency of such "guidance" from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other governmental departments, particularly prior to or following the publication of sensitive material.
The following recent examples are illustrative. On May 4, 1999, Maksudjon Husseinov was summoned to the Ministry of Security. He told Human Rights Watch the following:
They [Zafar Zarifov] asked me what I had told the Glasnost Defense Foundation in Moscow during my recent trip there, and demanded that I give them a copy of anything I had said or distributed. They also asked me why I had gone to Radio Liberty and the OSCE after the attack in October 1998, I should have come to them first, etc. Finally, they told me that were I to distribute information on media violations to human rights organizations, a criminal case would be opened against me.90
On May 10, 1999, Kanibadam-based television journalist Zainiddin Orifov was summoned to the Ministry of Security when he arrived in Dushanbe to collect his exit visa, just prior to a scheduled visit to Sweden. Ministry officials reportedly warned him not to criticize the Tajik government abroad, and instructed him to convey the message that "all is well here in Tajikistan, there is only one presidential candidate in the country-Rakhmonov-and if you are asked about Turaev, you are to decline commentary." He was also told that it had been "noted" that he had received the opposition newspaper Charogi Ruz, and frequently listened to Radio Liberty.91
Physical Removal of Papers from Distribution
Attempts to limit information content and its dissemination can extend beyond surveillance and "counselling," to include the physical removal from newsstands of reporting deemed sensitive. For example, in December 1998 and January 1999, when numerous copies of a December 1998 issue of Novaia gazeta made a spontaneous appearance in Dushanbe kiosks, they soon after disappeared, and not only due to voluminous sales. Towards the end of December, officials in Ministry of Internal Affairs uniforms, traveling in an unmarked car, seized remaining issues from the kiosks without explanation.92 The issue contained an extensive interview with Yakub Salimov, who had previously been minister of internal affairs, ambassador to Turkey, and chairman of the customs committee; the government accused him of leading a failed uprising against the central government in August 1997. In the interview, Salimov harshly criticized the Rakhmonov administration, accusing it of, among other things, corruption and involvement in the drug trade.
Arbitrary Denial of Permission to Print
The newspapers of at least two opposition political parties-the Congress of National Unity and the Communist Party of Tajikistan-have been denied permission to print at government printing houses since the summer of 1998. According to members of these political parties, the imminent elections are a major reason for the unofficial ban.
Why, indeed, is there at this time an unofficial ban on various independent media. It's not difficult to explain-the elections! It's not just the consequence of the civil war...everything started in April 1998, when Rakhmonov became leader of the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan...we have to defend our rights on the eve of elections. 93
According to the leadership of the Congress of National Unity, government printing presses in Dushanbe have since July 1998 refused to print the Congress' newspapers Haft ganj and Sorbon.94 A member of the executive of the Congress who requested anonymity asserted:
In 1998, after we published an interview with deputy UTO leader Turajonzoda-it was his first interview given following his return to Dushanbe-we started to publish opinions by political scientists which didn't tow the official line, as well as an article about former president Rahmon Nabiev, and that's when we began to be pressured and our paper was unofficially banned. At Printing House No. 1 we were told by the director of the printing press that he himself had been threatened by the authorities with dismissal should he print Haft ganj. He also told us that he had been told that he was to personally show mock-ups of the newspaper to the Ministry of Culture and Information and obtain approval before printing. That's censorship for you. Also, unidentified persons knocked on the door of our editorial office and delivered threats. We had a mini printing press at that office, and we took it to Leninabad, where we publish our other newspaper, Sorbon. There's less pressure there, it's less dangerous.95
At present Sorbon continues to be printed and distributed in Leninabad, but issues do not reach Dushanbe or the southern regions of the country.
Beginning in July 1998, government printing presses also denied the newspaper of the Communist Party of Tajikistan permission to publish. A. Abdullaev, Chairman of the Inspection-Audit Commission of the Communist Party, told Human Rights Watch:
Our newspapers haven't been printed since our printing house was nationalized.96 In July 1998, when the Sharqi Ozod printing house for a final time refused to publish our papers, we approached Printing House No. 1 and delivered payment. In July they printed one issue, but after that refused to print any more. They said that they only printed books, not newspapers. But that's just a pretext, they were simply pressured by the Ministry of Culture and Information not to print our papers.97 During the past several months we approached them several times, but they continue to say no, so our money's still sitting there. The government doesn't want any opinions expressed other than those appearing in the official press.98
One of the Communist Party's regional newspapers, E'tiqod, continues to be published in Leninabad province. Echoing the comments of the member of the Congress of National Unity, Abdullaev explained that among the reasons its continued publication was allowed were its location in northern Leninabad, far from the capital, and the limited number of copies printed.99
On November 13, 1997, the prominent Russian-language Dushanbe-based newspaper Vecherniye vesti was suddenly refused permission by Sharqi Ozod staff to print at the government printing house, and efforts by the newspapers' editors to obtain official explanations were unsuccessful. Vecherniye vesti had one week earlier published a front-page interview with NRM leader Abdullajonov, a former prime minister who led an opposition movement,100 a broad discussion including his prognosis for the peace process and stating NRM's desire to constructively participate in it; his views on the influence of the NRM in the country; Tajikistan's relations with Russia and Uzbekistan; and Abdullajonov's defense regarding the criminal case pending against him. Vecherniye Vesti for a period continued to be denied permission to publish, and it ultimately closed down and reappeared several weeks later as Vecherniy Dushanbe.
Javohir Kobilov,101 former editor-in-chief of Vecherniye vesti and currently deputy editor-in-chief of Vecherniy Dushanbe, described what happened after the interview with Abdullajanov appeared:
On November 11 the tax police arrived. They searched up and down, looking for anything to incriminate me, and a criminal case was opened. At the end of December 1997 the case was given over to the procurator of the Railway district. I was accused of embezzling pretty substantial sums, under article 96 [of the criminal code], such that three additional articles were added: 196, 188 and 173. At the end of February I was "asked" to sign a paper stating that I would not leave the country, and my passport was seized.
This time around I was fined three million rubles. Now, in accordance with a presidential decree the minimum wage is 1,000 rubles, thus, 10,000-50,000 rubles is considered a big fine. It was only when a change in the circumstances of the "crime" occurred that the fine fell to 19,000 rubles. But they appropriated the computers, took everything. After Vecherniye vesti was closed we started to publish Vecherniy Dushanbe, which we had registered earlier in 1997 in case of such an incident.102
The current paper is headed by a new editor-in-chief and continues to publish only uncontroversial material. Kobilov has since left the country to pursue career opportunities abroad.
In August 1997, the weekly Istiqlol, published by the nongovernmental Oli Somon Fund, was informed by the government printing house management that it had received an order not to print the paper. No precise explanations were given. According to Abduqodir Kholiqzoda, Chairman of the Oli Solomon Fund,
We never received any official documentation or notice. The Ministry of Information and Culture never once said anything to us, they never did anything official, but simply used other methods to blocks our efforts. We had to print the paper at various printing houses from September to December 1997 ... then we printed it on our own, then in January 1998 permission was once again given to print at our regular printing house.103
Kholiqzoda asserted that the order was designed to punish the newspaper for having published, in August and September 1997, an appeal to the nation by CNR chairman Said Abdullo Nuri and an interview with then UTO military head Davlat Usmonov.104 Nuri's address stressed Islam as a fundamental factor for national unity, while Usmonov criticized the current government for not having included all political forces in the peace process. As of this writing, Istiqlol is not in print and has not been so since April 1998, due to lack of funds.
Undue Burdens on Licensing
Regulations governing the issuance of licenses for private radio and television stations are restrictive. A broadcast license is issued by the State Committee on Radio and Television, while technical permission is given by the Ministry of Communications. Not only does the State Committee on Radio and Television thus exercise complete control over the licensing procedure, but it also reserves the right to suspend the activities of the stations for reasons which are broad-ranging. For example, article 12 of the Law on the Press and Other Mass Media stipulates that the activities of independent radio and television stations can be halted for up to six months "in the event that there is sufficient reason to believe that the ownership is in abuse of its rights" (unofficial translation). This vague wording opens the door toabuse by the government, allowing it to use licenses as a lever to control broadcast media content.105 Under article 15 of the Law of the Press and Other Mass Media, media outlets may appeal to the courts to challenge the denial of a licence or the decision to revoke a licence. However, the ineffectual court system in Tajikistan, combined with pointed state repression, may cause journalists or owners to fear that making use of legal remedies will only trigger unpleasant reprisals.
Throughout 1998 and 1999, the licensing process for independent television stations continued to be both time-consuming and expensive, requiring high official fees and bribes at almost every stage.106
In recent months there have been attempts to impose licensing requirements on production companies, although at present, they do not require such licenses, as they do not themselves broadcast. In April 1999, for example, the State Committee on Radio and Television ordered the Khurshed-Production company, which produces video and musical clips, concert programs, and other musical-entertainment programs, to cease activities until they had submitted documentation for an operating license. A legal rebuttal arguing that, according to the law, Khurshed-Production does not utilize the airwaves and therefore doesn't require an operating license, met with success, and the demand was dropped. Nonetheless, indirect threats from authorities regarding a possible order to halt activities have continued against an international organization involved in television production.107
In July 1997, a ruling issued by the Ministry of Culture ordered the temporary closing of independent television stations that did not possess an operating license, although at that time no government body had established the procedure necessary to obtain such a license. Further, it appeared that the government had delayed issuing regulations governing licensing as a tactic to deny independent operators access to the airwaves.
To date there are no independent radio stations operating in Tajikistan, although one, affiliated with the Asia-Plus news agency, was due to start broadcasting as of January 1999. The State Committee on Radio and Television, however, refused to issue a registration license in January 1999, claiming, "As the legislation regarding the emission of private radio licenses is not yet ready and requires further adjustments, the Committee is not yet able to issue you the license in question."108 A staff member of the Asia-Plus radio station stated that they had applied to the Majlisi Oli for further clarification and added that they were not willing to make a fuss for the time being as the tax police had, "coincidentally," just recently visited the Asia-Plus news agency office for an inspection.109 At the time of writing, another independent Dushanbe-based radio station, Radio Nik, was also experiencing difficulties obtaining a license. To date neither station has yet received a license, despite requests by international organizations, including the OSCE, to speed up their registration process
Revocation of Accreditation
In the past two years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revoked the accreditation of, or refused to issue accreditation to, at least three foreign correspondents-two of whom were from Russia. Their reporting on national affairs, the authorities claimed, was biased and misguided, or had discredited the leadership and its policies. Under Tajik law, journalists who visit Tajikistan must receive accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On July 27, 1998, Yelena Masyuk, a veteran war correspondent for Russia's NTV, was declared persona non grata in Tajikistan for having broadcast reports "discrediting the country's leadership and its policies." The governmentrevoked her accreditation after NTV broadcast two of Masyuk's reports, on July 22 and July 23, 1998. Masyuk filed the reports from the Karategin Valley, just after the murder of four members of the United Nations Mission of Observers to Tajikistan (UNMOT) by unidentified assailants. According to Odiljon Ashurov, a journalist in NTV's Dushanbe office:
Yelena committed an error in that she used archival footage which she didn't identify as such, namely, UTO field commander Mirzo Zioev two years ago invoking historical [Tajik] claims to the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. It came out sounding as though he had said this now. She also described Kuliab as a criminal center, which was a huge insult to the president; it's his home base. And she depicted the peace process as one that was hardly moving forward at all. All the Russian journalists were called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to view the reports, and everybody had a good reaction, they said, "What's the problem? She did a good job!...In any case, the day after Yelena's reports were broadcast, I got a phone call from the authorities. They said, "We're going to close your office tomorrow." I said, "I'm not to blame. I work here; she just came from Moscow." For two days we didn't go to work, we didn't know whether the office was going to remain open.110
Three days after Masyuk was stripped of her accreditation, NTV issued an apology to the government, but maintained that all facts contained in Masyuk's reports were accurate. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned NTV that should they "whip up the so-called 'Masyuk case', the Ministry [would] suspend the activities or close the representative office in Tajikistan."111 As of this writing, Masyuk remains without accreditation and persona non grata in Tajikistan.
In February 1997, Nezavisimaia gazeta correspondent Igor Rotar saw his accreditation withdrawn following general accusations of being "unscrupulous and biased."112 In May 1997 Pravda-V correspondent Irada Gusseynova, who currently resides in Azerbaijan, was unable to obtain an extension of her accreditation following the publication of articles written by her, which were said to have offended the dignity and honor of the president.113
At the time of writing, no signs had been received from the government indicating that they were ready to renew or grant accreditation to the journalists named above.
82 For additional information on incidents of press violations suffered in recent years by Biznes i Politika (Business and Politics) (Dushanbe), see Human Rights Watch, Leninabad: Crackdown in the North (New York: Human Rights Watch, April 1998).
83 During the early hours of November 4, 1998, armed groups allegedly composed of several hundred men entered Leninabad province from neighboring Uzbekistan and occupied key administrative buildings and the airport in Chkalovsk, adjacent to Khujand. The rebels said they deplored the general political and military disorder in Tajikistan and the involvement of security forces and government representatives in the drug trade. Their demands included the inclusion of key regional leaders in the peace process, the liberation and amnesty of political prisoners, parliamentary elections, and the broadcast of their demands on regional television. Negotiations between the rebels and authorities quickly broke down, and Tajik security forces quelled the rebellion during the following week. The events resulted in, according to official data, an estimated 1,000 killed and injured, including at least forty-nine civilian deaths. Tajikistan for the first time since the civil war accused Uzbekistan of interference in its internal affairs and submitted a protest to the United Nations Security Council.
84 After his last attempted rebellion, in late summer 1997, Khudoberdiev allegedly fled to Uzbekistan.
85 Human Rights Watch interviews with local journalists, Dushanbe, December 7, 1998.
Abdumalik Abdullajonov, a former prime minister of Tajikistan and former leader of the northern-based National Revival Movement (NRM), was accused of masterminding the rebellion along with Mahmud Khudoiberdiev and others. His brother Abdugani Abdullajonov, a former mayor of Khujand, was also accused of organizing the rebellion. At the time of writing, Abugani was reportedly in custody either in Dushanbe or southern Tajikistan; another brother, Abdukhafiz Abdullaiev, sentenced to death on charges of having conspired to assassinate President Rakhmonov, was reportedly being detained in southern Tajikistan.
Abdullajonov's NRM had repeatedly attempted to gain access to both the inter-Tajik peace negotations and the CNR, but these requests, the last one being in April 1998, were consistently refused. Soon after the rebellion, in December 1998, the National Unity Party, headed by Abdullajonov, was banned by the Supreme Court.
In November 1997, following the publication of a front-page interview with Abdullajonov in Vecherniye vesti, the newspaper was refused permission to print at its regular government printing house. See "Unofficial bans."
The media in Tajikistan are silent about the whereabouts or situation of members of the Abdullajonov family.
86 Russian media coverage of the events in the northern region, Leninabad, is, nonetheless, also revealing of considerable bias. Its television and radio reported from the early days of the rebellion intense fighting between the rebels and government forces in Aini, 120 kilometers north of Dushanbe, and substantial numbers of displaced persons. When international relief personnel arrived in the area several days after these news reports, however, they noted next to no structural damage, which raised questions about the extent of heavy fighting altogether. In addition, residents of Aini who fled the town for a week or more told Human Rights Watch that they had fled not due to heavy combat but out of fear of the onset of governmental troops, who often plunder the civilian population during such events. Human Rights Watch interviews with residents of Aini, Dushanbe, November 1998.
State media coverage of the events was also widely seen to be one-sided, with next to no information appearing about the demands or aims of the rebel group and with state media unilaterally labeling Khudoiberdiev and his group traitors. According to a journalist employed by the state radio, "We are starving for information. It is wholly one-sided. We know nothing about the demands of the [rebel] group, for example, if it is a group that has a legal basis it should be given the chance to address the people. The people now understand that the authorities don't want the people to rise up against them, that's why they're cracking down so heavily on Leninabad province, so that no candidate from that province runs in the elections. The group should have been given a chance to air their concerns through the media." Human Rights Watch interview, Dushanbe, November 10, 1998. A Dushanbe professor made the following comment on state media coverage of the Leninabad events: "We, the intelligentsia, don't pay attention to the government-run radio or television. I myself just ignore them, they're so one-sided; the news on the Leninabad events was so exaggerated. It was bad; no, it was disinformation." Human Rights Watch interview, Dushanbe, November 23, 1998. Name withheld.
87 Human Rights Watch interview with Rahmatkarim Davlat, Dushanbe, June 16, 1998. Despite repeated requests, Human Rights Watch was unable to obtain a copy of the article in question.
Although of central importance to the peace process in terms of accountability, other information on the discovery of mass graves was never made public. Members of the CNR and UNMOT made a joint trip to the area, but did not disclose the results of their investigation.
88 Human Rights Watch interview with Rahmatkarim Davlat, Dushanbe, June 16, 1998.
89 Asia-Plus, as reported in RFE/RL Newsline, vol. 3, no. 163, Part I, August 23, 1999.
90 Human Rights Watch interview with Maksudjon Husseinov, Dushanbe, May 11, 1999.
91 Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhtor Bokizoda, Dushanbe, May 19, 1999; Chronicle, May 1999. Orifov declined an interview with Human Rights Watch.
92 Human Rights Watch interviews with kiosk venders, Dushanbe, December 30, 1998.
93 A. Abdullaiev, Chairman of the Inspection-Audit Commission of the Communist Party of Tajikistan, comments at a meeting of the National Association of Political Scientists of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, December 24, 1998.
94 The content of Haft ganj, according to the Congress, is oriented towards the population in the south of Tajikistan, whereas that of Sorbon is aimed at a northern (Leninabad) audience. Originally both papers were distributed in both parts of the country. For a brief period following a combined issue of Haft ganj and Sorbon was printed in Dushanbe, until state printing presses refused to print it.
95 Human Rights Watch interview with member of Congress of National Unity, Dushanbe, January 21, 1999, identity withheld; meeting of the National Association of Political Scientists of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, December 24, 1998.
96 On May 25, 1998, President Rakhmonov issued a Decree on the Property of the Communist Party of Tajikistan, according to which all Communist Party property should be confiscated. The chairman of the Communist Party, Shodi Shabdolov, claimed that the decree amounts to nationalization of the party's property and directly contravenes the constitution. Human Rights Watch interview with A. Abdullaev, Communist Party of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, January 20, 1999; ITAR-TASS, as reported in RFE/RL Newsline, vol. 2, no. 242, part I, December 17, 1998. As of the end of January 1999, the issue was being studied by the Economic Court of Tajikistan, and on December 31, 1998, the government issued Notice No. 552 concerning the distribution of Communist Party property. Human Rights Watch interview with A. Abdullaev, Dushanbe, January 20, 1999.
97 The Sharqi Ozod printing house prints many newspapers, including, among others, Sadoi Mardum, Jumhuriyat, Biznes i Politika, and Vecherniy Dushanbe.
98 Human Rights Watch interview with A. Abdullaev, Dushanbe, January 20, 1999. Despite the unofficial ban on the newspaper, however, members of the Communist Party are not prevented from voicing their views: Vecherniy Dushanbe published in December 1998 the following comments by Tuigun Karimov, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party: "We, the members of the Communist Party, suffered greatly during this year. My colleagues and I bore witness to many violations of the Constitution, in particular, an unofficial ban on our party newspaper. It's annoying..." Vecherniy Dushanbe, no. 56, December 31, 1998.
99 Human Rights Watch interview with A. Abdullaev, Dushanbe, January 20, 1999.
100 See footnote 85.
101 Kobilov had previously been the target of other press violations. In 1993, he hid himself for two days and his family was threatened when he published an article critical of Abdullajonov, who was then prime minister of Tajikistan. In 1995, following the publication of an article critical of the change in national currency from Russian to Tajik rubles, his paper was fined 2,000,000 Tajik rubles (at the time, roughly the equivalent of U.S. $40,000.00). And on June 23, 1997, a Vecherniye Vesti driver was seized and assaulted by unidentified armed men. This attack followed the publication of an interview with rebel commander Mahmud Khudoiberdiev. Human Rights Watch interview with Javokhir Kobilov, April 23, 1998.
102 Human Rights Watch interview with Javohir Kobilov, Dushanbe, April 23, 1998.
103 Human Rights Watch interview with Abduqodir Kholiqzoda, Dushanbe, April 15, 1998.
105 Human Rights Watch interview with Internews staff member, Dushanbe, July 13, 1999; Zakoniy I praktika sredstv massovoi informatsii v stranax SNG I Baltii , p. 133; "Mir informatsii bez granits," June 24, 1999.
106 U.S Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998; Human Rights Watch interview with Bahodur Kosimov, journalist, Dushanbe, June 19, 1998.
107 Human Rights Watch interviews with Internews staff members, Dushanbe, June 19 and July 13, 1999.
108 Letter from Saif Rahimov, State Committee on Radio and Television, addressed to Asia-Plus radio station, January 15, 1999.
109 Human Rights Watch interview with staff member of Asia-Plus news agency, February 4, 1999.
110 Human Rights Watch interview with Odiljon Ashurov, Dushanbe, August 13, 1998. Although Ashurov, like other journalists, had found nothing wrong with Masyuk's reports, his comment provides insight into the discrepancy between local and high-profile Russian coverage of Tajik events. He related that he had called up his head office in Moscow to ask that they "stop sending the Yelenas from Moscow, they just cause us problems here."
111 Glasnost Defense Foundation, letter to President Rakhmonov, July 28, 1998.
112 Reporters sans Frontières, Rapport annuel 1997.
113 The articles were entitled "Who was Behind the Assassination Attempt on the President?" and "Fortune has Smiled upon, if Only One, Tajik." Another article that reportedly offended Tajikistan authorities, "Prostitution: The Most Widespread Profession in Tajikistan," argued that prostitution was the only way for women to make a living in Tajikistan. See Human Rights Watch, Leninabad: Crackdown in the North, p. 29.