Stockholm, July 20, 2023 – In response to the July 19 announcement that the Supreme Court of Tajikistan banned the independent news website Pamir Daily News and classified it as an “extremist organization,” the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“Tajik authorities’ move to ban Pamir Daily News and smear it as ‘extremist’ is a sadly predictable step in the ongoing criminalization of all coverage of the government’s human rights abuses,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Authorities must reverse this ban and stop their systematic attempts to stifle reporting on the Pamiri minority.”
In the announcement, the prosecutor general’s office said the court granted its petition to ban Pamir Daily News “in order to protect the bases of the constitutional order, security, and independence” of the country. As part of the ban, the outlet’s websites have been blocked in Tajikistan and anyone who works or cooperates with the outlet can face criminal prosecution.
The Supreme Court issued its decision on June 14 but the ruling was only announced on Wednesday, July 19.
Pamir Daily News covers current affairs in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, home to the country’s Pamiri ethnic minority. The outlet, whose staff work anonymously for fear of retaliation, has been one of a small number of independent media reporting on authorities’ ongoing brutal crackdown on Pamiri people suspected of involvement in protests in May 2022.
Since those protests, Tajik authorities have blocked internet in Gorno-Badakhshan, threatened media outlets with closure, harassed exiled journalists’ relatives, and imprisoned journalists Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva and Khushruz Jumayev in order to suppress coverage of events in the region, as CPJ has documented.
In a statement issued July 19, Pamir Daily News described the decision as “entirely expected” and vowed to continue its work “with even greater motivation.”