Washington, D.C., July 1, 2019 -- Tajikistan authorities should immediately reinstate video journalist Barotali Nazarov's press accreditation and cease using accreditations as a means of censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On June 26, a Foreign Ministry official revoked Nazarov's press accreditation during a meeting in Dushanbe, the capital, between the Foreign Ministry and Nazarov's employer, the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Tajik service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, according to a statement from the news outlet and Salimjon Aioubov, Radio Ozodi's acting director, who communicated with CPJ via email.
During the meeting, the official said that Tajik security services ordered the journalist's credential "temporarily" revoked after Nazarov, a Tajik citizen who writes under the name Barot Yusufi, reported stories "mentioning" the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, a banned opposition party, according to the statement and news reports.
"The Tajik government has routinely used press accreditations as a means to curb critical reporting and control information," said Gulnoza Said, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. "These methods must stop, and the Foreign Ministry should immediately reinstate Barotali Nazarov's accreditation and allow him to report freely."
Aioubov told CPJ that Radio Ozodi stands by Nazarov's reporting.
In 2016, CPJ reported that the Tajik Foreign Ministry temporarily suspended the accreditation of six Dushanbe-based correspondents from Radio Ozodi following the broadcaster's refusal to remove a report on the appointment of the Tajik president's daughter to a senior foreign ministry position.
CPJ emailed the Tajik Foreign Ministry and its Department of Information and Press for comment but did not receive a response.