A human rights group of journalists said in the report that it was difficult for journalists to obtain information from the Tajik authorities. The NANSMIT report says that even the prosecutor’s office, which is responsible for compliance with the law, does not comply with the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On the provision of information.” The prosecutor’s office does not comment on the message. Experts fear that the authorities’ reluctance to provide official information will open the door to false news.
“Requests for simple news”
Bakhmaner Nadirov, creative director of Asia-Plus, and his colleagues turn to the authorities for information almost every day. But it is not easy for them. Nadirov said it would take a simple call from a senior official to confirm a simple report, but to no avail.
“It takes a journalistic request to confirm the immediate news that will be broadcast at this time, which is certainly not true for a simple story,” he said. This leads to a decrease in coverage in the domestic media. In this case, the space is filled with those who want to take advantage of the situation with false information, ”said Bahmanyar Nadirov.
The National Association of Independent Media (NANSMIT) said in a report that sources currently remain the primary source of information for journalists.
Criticism of the difficulty of obtaining information from the official office has been circulating for several years. But the authorities have always denied access to official information. According to the authorities, the press conference of the heads of the structures, which is held every six months, is proof of their good cooperation with the media.
Unanswered letters or replies received after 3 months.
Asia-Plus is not the only news agency that has complained about information received from the authorities. Other nongovernmental media outlets, including Radio Ozodi, have also struggled in recent years to gain access to the authorities.
Muhammadvafo Rakhmatov, director of Radio Ozodi’s Dushanbe bureau, says that when journalists seek information from ministries and departments, they usually ask the authorities for a letter.
“After sending letters, we are faced with a number of situations. Firstly, in most cases we do not receive a response to our letters. It’s another matter that our letters are answered, but it’s too late – in a month, two or even three months. In this case, the article or report has already been published, and the answer we received practically loses its relevance. Of course, there are times when the answer is timely, but the information is very short and insignificant, which does not hurt at all, ”said the head of the Tajik service of Radio Ozodi.
NANSMITH also said in its report that the authorities “either do not respond to journalists’ inquiries or give a dry answer that does not harm the journalist.” The answer remained unanswered.
“When the prosecutor’s office does not comply with the law”
NANSMIT head Nuriddin Karshibaev told Radio Ozodi on November 25: “We are concerned that, unfortunately, agencies that previously responded to journalists’ inquiries in a timely manner, such as the Interior Ministry, have ignored inquiries in recent months. “Most worrisome is that the law enforcement agency, the Prosecutor General’s Office, is not responding to inquiries.” We went to the Prosecutor General’s Office to get an opinion, but the press service did not come to talk to us. Our attempts to find out the opinion of the prosecutor by telephone were also unsuccessful. The press officer hung up when he heard our question.
The authors of the NANSMIT report write that there are still institutions that work well with journalists. In particular, the Ministry of Education and Science, which, according to the report, provides the necessary information to journalists in a timely manner.
The head of NANSMIT Nuriddin Karshibaev said that at the end of this year he plans to file a complaint with the Presidential Administration against the authorities that did not respond to journalists’ inquiries.
“They don’t want their shortcomings to be exposed.”
According to experts, the authorities’ reluctance to provide information may have several reasons. One of them, according to journalist Irshad Suleimani, is that the authorities do not want their shortcomings to be revealed. But the authorities have always said they accept valid criticism.
“Refusal to provide the necessary information shows that in Tajikistan the government is formed separately from the people and society. People don’t know what they are doing. The only way to hold the authorities accountable to the public is through the media. When this does not happen, it means that they are going their own way, people are going their own way. And this creates a big gap between the people and the government, which in the future can lead to big social explosions, ”Suleimani added.
Human rights groups expressed concern that the work of independent journalists in Tajikistan is hindered and that freedom of expression is being curtailed. But the authorities have always insisted that freedom of speech is guaranteed in the country.
This year, Tajikistan dropped one place to 162nd in the Reporters Without Borders rating of free press.
Information taken from the site https://www.ozodi.org/a/31585191.html.